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Consumers are more educated than ever about where their food comes from and increasingly pick restaurants and ingredients with a local spin.
But many large restaurant chains have found it difficult to meet the growing demand for food that’s local, or at least feels like it is.
P.F. Chang’s has found a way to keep up with the times.
Last year, the 211-unit casual-dining chain, based in Scottsdale, Ariz., rolled out a Local Favorites menu. The limited-time offer featured past menu favorites that varied from city to city. Returning menu items included P.F. Chang’s classics such as Dali Chicken, Red Wine & Pepper Braised Beef and Flaming Pork Wontons.
“The menu was unique to each restaurant, and was developed with input from our guests and team members,” said Dwayne Chambers, P.F. Chang’s CMO. “The end result was a unique menu that featured a sampling of the most popular dishes with our guests.”
The promotion, which Chambers said was a big hit with customers, was rooted in the company’s Farm to Wok initiative, which it launched in 2015. Farm to Wok emphasizes the importance of scratch cooking and sourcing ingredients.
“We were able to run the successful Local Favorites menu because of our Farm to Wok food philosophy, where every item is made from scratch every day, overseen by a chef in every P.F. Chang’s restaurant,” Chambers said.
But P.F. Chang’s focus on how it sources ingredients and its commitment to freshly prepared food isn’t new.
“It’s the way the company has conducted business since its inception,” Chambers told Nation’s Restaurant News last year. “We’re just finally telling people about it.”
P.F. CHANG’S LOCAL MENU
- Dali Chicken: Tender slices of chicken breast wok-tossed with dried red chiles, potatoes and scallions in a signature spicy sauce
- Red Wine & Pepper Braised Beef: Marinated flank steak wok-seared with sliced potatoes, broccolini, Napa cabbage, grape tomatoes and Fresno peppers served with a red wine pepper sauce
- Lemon Pepper Shrimp: Wok-crisped shrimp stir-fried with celery, bean sprouts, scallions and fresh lemon slices in an aromatic black pepper sauce
- Chengdu Spiced Lamb: Spice marinated lamb, wok-seared with toasted cumin, mint, grape tomatoes, onions