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Pei Wei debuts “Diner Selects” combos at lower price

Pei Wei debuts “Diner Selects” combos at lower price

Pei Wei Asian Diner is offering new menu pricing under the combo banner of “Diner Selects,” as parent company P.F. Chang’s China Bistro Inc. works to stem sliding sales.

The new “Diner Selects” option lets customers choose from five popular Pei Wei meals, starting at $6.25 for a reduced-portion entrée and a choice of a spring roll, soup or Asian slaw as sides. Pricier proteins, such as beef or shrimp, cost more, as do substitutions such as fried rice for white or brown rice.

Scottsdale, Ariz.-based P.F. Chang’s said same-store sales in the second quarter ended July 3 fell 2.7 percent at the Pei Wei brand and 2.5 percent at the 201-unit P.F. Chang’s Bistro.

When earnings were released in July, Rick Federico, P.F. Chang’s chair and chief executive, told analysts that, “through enhanced consumer research and further internal analysis, we have gained more clarity into the issues and are taking immediate steps to improve our operating performance.”

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Federico said company research indicated that the Pei Wei menu didn’t include enough items in the $3 to $6 range.

The new “Diner Selects,” touted on the chain’s electronic menu boards, offer customers “Create Your Own Combos,” with the five proteins prepared in the restaurant’s Teriyaki, Kung Pao, Pei Wei Spicy, Honey-Seared and Mongolian styles.

Federico said Chang’s culinary team is working on more dishes that would fall between $2.95 and $4.95, such as a lemongrass chicken noodle salad for $3.95. The chain also has had success with limited-time offers, such as caramel chicken, and would this fall offer Thai Basil Chicken as a limited-time offer, he said.

Five new Pei Wei locations were scheduled to open this year, and another 20 are expected to open next year, including units with more flexible designs. The first of two airport locations for Pei Wei are scheduled to open in the fourth quarter, with more planned in 2012.

For the quarter ended July 3, P.F. Chang’s reported net income of $9.1 million, compared with $12.8 million for the same quarter a year ago. Revenue fell almost 1 percent to $311 million, compared with $312.8 million in the prior year.

Pei Wei Asian Diner has 173 units.

Contact Ron Ruggless at [email protected].
Follow him on Twitter: @RonRuggless


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