5Qs for Genaro Perez on P.F. Chang’s re-brand and expansion

Al Urbanski
Perez and P.F. Chang's are 80% done with a restaurant re-brand in the U.S.

P.F. Chang's continues to expand its brand nationwide. 

In the last two weeks, the restaurant company opened its eighth bistro in Dallas-Fort Worth, and its fifth in the Atlanta metro. There are now 19 P.F. Chang’s To Go takeouts in urban settings like New York and Chicago. The chain, whose entrances are attended by brightly painted stallions, now serves its Lettuce Wraps and Mongolian Beef in 40 states — and plans to keep charging onward, senior VP of marketing Genaro Perez told Chain Store Age.  Here’s more:

Sit-down restaurants have become marquee tenants at lifestyle centers and Class A malls and P.F. Chang’s was one of the chains that led the way. How did that come about?

We’ve been in the U.S. market for 30 years. We have 200 bistros across the country and we’re on track to build more, especially since shopping centers have become destination centers with expanded dining and entertainment options. When we started out, our bistros were typically 8,000 sq.-ft. But when we started expanding internationally, we needed to use smaller footprints. Our current target size is 5,500 sq. ft. for a bistro, but we’re also working on some locations that are 3,900 or 4,400 sq. ft. Bigger is not always better anymore. It is about having the correct size to maintain that vibe inside the restaurant for dine-in guests and be able to support the off-premise dining, which has become one-third of our business and takes up less space.

What do you see as your core value as a center traffic-builder?

Attracting people to centers every day of the week. At most of our restaurants, we’re not necessarily busier on weekends. We feel we’re competing with more high-end dining spots and we’re undergoing a brand revitalization that creates a more upscale dining experience. All of the consumer touchpoints have been updated—the furniture, the music…a new bold color palate. About 80% of our restaurants have gone through the brand refresh. The menu’s the same, however—Lettuce Wraps, Chang’s Spicy Chicken, Mongolian Beef.

PF Chang
“We feel we’re competing with more high-end dining spots and we’re undergoing a brand revitalization that creates a more upscale dining experience.”

Tell us about your four new flagship locations.

Yes, we’re in Union Square in New York, Waikiki in Honolulu, Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas, and Atlantic City. The flagships bear out our new branding but at the highest level. Each have unique furnishings and items that present a special experience to guests who’ve eaten at other locations. Each also offer unique menu items—sushi rolls in New York, for instance.

We know you’re currently expanding in Florida. What are some other areas where we’ll see a bigger presence for P.F. Chang’s?

We have several new restaurants in the pipeline. Texas is very important to us, as is Arizona, California, and South Florida. Affinity for our brand is very strong anywhere in the United States. We’re looking for locations with substantial traffic that have other full-service, upscale dining concepts.

How’s the expansion of your new P.F. Chang’s To Go going?

We now have 19 locations in places where full-size restaurants are not possible, all in urban locations like Chicago, New York, and Dallas-Fort Worth. They’re takeout locations that allow people to enjoy P.F. Chang’s at their own pace. It’s an off-premise dining strategy that let’s take advantage of our strong brand awareness in places where you won’t find one of our bistros.

This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds