Food - News

We Finally Know Why P.F. Chang's Is So Cheap
By ALEX DARUS

Outside of its 200+ restaurants in the U.S., P.F. Chang's has an extensive at-home grocery line, including its signature sauces and ready-made frozen meals. More recently, P.F. Chang's unveiled a merchandise shop and a fast-casual takeout concept called P.F. Chang's To-Go.

MONEY-MAKING INITIATIVES

According to Indeed, a server at P.F. Chang's makes $16 an hour, higher compared to the median hourly wage. Former employees also wrote positive reviews on the site, where one former host wrote that they "always felt safe and respected at work."

GOOD REPUTATION

In general, P.F. Chang's menu’s design is family-style, with entrees costing $15 and $20 usually large enough to split. P.F. Chang's also offers other deals, such as bowls costing $15 or less, for those not looking to shell out the full price for a dinner entree.

BULK MENU

Sushi is one of the most expensive menu items in the U.S. due to its high cost of ingredients, but P.F. Chang’s keeps their sushi prices low since the company buys seafood in bulk. One event director referred to the chain as a "high caliber, high volume" buyer in 2016, according to Intrafish.

LOW SUSHI PRICES

Unlike some other inexpensive restaurant concepts, P.F. Chang's has the upper hand by making a lot of money on alcohol sales. P.F. Chang's unique and exclusive specialty drinks lean into the restaurant's theme, featuring Japanese spirits, sake, and flavors like lychee, yuzu, and green tea.

ALCOHOL SALES

The base of many dishes at P.F. Chang's relies on low-cost pantry staples with high markups. They use mainly rice and noodles, two very low-cost options that are also filling for diners, and green onions, a low-cost staple that adds a lot of flavor to dishes.

STAPLE INGREDIENTS

P.F. Chang’s buys protein in bulk to get the best price and uses each item on repeat on their menus to maximize the cost. Reddit user u/OK_Manufacturer845 wrote that meals are prepared from scratch and in-house, making it easier for line cooks to ensure they're getting the most from every ingredient.

EXPENSIVE INGREDIENTS

P.F. Chang has implemented a few promotions to convert casual customers into full-blown regulars, such as rotating happy hour offerings that make menu items even less expensive. They also have a loyalty rewards program where customers earn rewards for every visit.

REGULAR CUSTOMERS

Paul Fleming and Philip Chiang opened the first P.F. Chang's in Arizona in 1993. It is inspired by Philip’s family history as the son of Cecilia Chiang, the former owner of the highly successful San Francisco-based Chinese restaurant the Mandarin.

HISTORY