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P.F. Chang's tests new happy hour menu

P.F. Chang’s China Bistro is testing new happy hour menu items, and may reveal additional menu changes when it reports second-quarter earnings on Wednesday, officials confirmed Monday.

Allison Schulder, P.F. Chang’s director of investor relations and corporate compliance, said the Scottsdale, Ariz.-based operator began testing a “Yum Cha Menu” at a location in Kansas City, Mo., about two weeks ago. The company is planning to test the items at a location in Scottsdale, and possibly other sites, before any decision is made about a systemwide roll out.

The happy hour menu under test at P.F. Chang’s is offered in addition to a line of small plates and appetizers the chain added to the menu last year. That move was the latest example of the small plate trend that has also benefited casual-dining competitors including The Cheesecake Factory and California Pizza Kitchen.

The Yum Cha dishes include mamenori, or Southeast Asian “sushi-style” rolls in four flavors: spiced-braised shrimp with fresh herbs and sriracha aioli drizzle; Ahi tuna with shallots, cucumber and butter lettuce; duck with rice noodles, parsley infused oil, crispy smoked bacon, candied walnuts sweet soy drizzle and pineapple; and chicken with cucumber, radish and basil mint aioli drizzle. Guests can choose three for $7.95.

Also on the menu are bai sa bing, or Mandarin flatbreads, for about $6.95, with toppings such as Kowloon air-dried ham with spinach, cilantro and mint, gingered fig spread and black rice vinaigrette; or Manchu duck with hoisin, smoked bacon, Asian cress, radish sprouts and honey-peanut vinaigrette.

Securities analyst Mark Kalinowski of Janney Capital Markets noted the cost of a possible happy hour menu rollout may impact P.F. Chang’s second-quarter earnings.

Kalinowski is predicting the chain will report earnings of 54 cents per share — lower than the 56 cents projected by most analysts. A year ago, P.F. Chang’s reported earnings of 51 cents per share. Kalinowski expects same-store sales to fall 1 percent for the latest quarter at the P.F. Chang’s chain, and increase 3 percent at the fast-casual Pei Wei Asian Diner.

P.F. Chang’s China Bistro Inc. operates about 200 namesake restaurants and about 167 Pei Wei Asian Diners.

Contact Lisa Jennings at [email protected].

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