Audio – P.F. Chang’s faces economic pressures; and a visit from the Queen of Temperance!

March 19, 2008

federico1.jpgDifferent companies are using different methods to deal with the withering U.S. economy and still draw in customers.

Richard Federico, chief executive of P.F. Chang’s China Bistro, said his restaurant company is trying to implement a mix of all available lures to keep crowds coming to its Bistros and Pei Wei Asian Diner concepts.

Federico was one of the featured guests on the third day of the Reuters Food Summit, which runs through Thursday at our Chicago offices.

Federico said that customers are clearly being more selective with their food orders and are definitely trading down to less expensive options.

People are tending to try and generate a smaller tab by going with an appetizer or a bowl item instead of a more expensive entree. Some guests seem to be turnincarry1.jpgg away from that second glass of wine.

Of course, Federico warned that passing on the vino might be an extremely good idea if you live in Arizona (or if you happen to be a fan of famous non-drinking advocate Carrie Nation, seen on the right). Arizona has put in place some pretty strict drunk-driving statutes – which Federico called “draconian”.

Carrie would have been happy enough with them … for our part, we might just call a cab next time we find ourselves in Scottsdale!

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