P.F. Chang's, voted as the Most Popular Full Survey Chain in a survey by Zagat, has made its way to the Philippines--and from the looks of it, they are here to change casual Chinese dining as we know it.
P.F. Chang's Director for International Marketing Genaro Perez, President for International Marketing Mike Welborn, Philip Chiang, and Global Restaurant Concepts, Inc. President and CEO Archie Rodriguez pose for their band's album cover
While I've always enjoyed Chinese cuisine, my typical complaint would be that the dishes are too oily for my liking and sometimes, I'd walk out of the establishment feeling sleepy and even bloated. The only times I'd really enjoy Chinese dishes would either be when it's home-cooked or at hotel restaurants since I'm almost always assured of the freshness of the ingredients used.
As we were enjoying the dishes being served to us by P.F. Chang's staff (who were flown in from the United States to oversee the branch's first few months of operations), Philip Chiang would emphasize the importance of using only the freshest ingredients for their dishes.
Shrimp with Candied Walnuts (personal favorite)
Chengdu Spiced Lamb
"No matter how busy we are, you order it, it's punched into the computer and then we cook," Chiang said.
In the country for the opening of the Alabang branch, Chiang likewise shared his philosophy when it comes to preparing his restaurants' dishes.
"I'd tell my chefs no dishes would be more than three ingredients, I don't want a lot of sauce or starch, and I don't want a lot of oil because I don't want it swimming on stuff. And I certainly don't want any garnishing. I don't want the traditional red cherry on the Chinese food. I want it to be simple and look natural and I want it to be healthy."
Archie Rodriguez, President and CEO of Global Restaurant Concepts Inc. (P.F. Chang's Philippine partner), would reveal that they had initially wanted to open the first branch at the Bonifacio Global City in Taguig last year but the Alabang location became more available quickly. (Global Restauran Concepts Inc.also owns California Pizza Kitchen and Orchard Road)
"Alabang is a great location and the market here is very good."
Rodriguez says that the planning for opening the first P.F. Chang branch in Asia took two years.
"I have a team of seven people go to the US, three of whom trained for almost 10 months, four who did for six to seven months. Today we have 21 trainers here helping our local staff and I have 110 people just for this restaurant."
How quickly the local staff can adapt to the standards being followed by the other 216 P.F. Chang's restaurants all over the world remains to be seen but if I were to base it on their performance during my first visit, I'd say that they're definitely on the right track. Our servers were very knowledgeable when it came to the dishes, they seemed jovial enough on what I can imagine as a very pressure-filled day, and when I asked for my drinks, I'd have it in perhaps a minute or two. I'm saying this now because I expect the same treatment on my future visits--which, is almost certainly assured because of the variety of dishes I have yet to try. And the fact that I always frequent Alabang Town Center.
Here's some facts you need to know about P.F. Chang's:
- They have their version of rice all you can for white and brown rice - as per Archie Rodriguez, Global Restaurants Concepts Inc. President and CEO
- They serve 900,000 customers per week - as per Genaro Perez, Director for International Marketing
- P.F. Chang's Vegetables are cut every day using Chinese cleavers, dumplings are handmade from scratch.
- Hours: Sunday thru Thursday from 11AM to 11PM; Friday and Saturday from 11AM to 1AM
- They have a gluten free menu and a vegetarian menu.
- All gluten free items are served on a special plate with the P.F. Chang's logo. These menu items are either gluten free as prepared, or are modified to be gluten free.
- P.F. Chang's upholds a rigorous gluten free cooking process to ensure the dietary safety of guests with gluten intolerance. The restaurant's staff takes all the necessary measures of precaution during the preparation and serving of gluten free dishes.
- Chefs take special care to ensure that gluten free dishes live up to the experience that customers have come to expect from P.F. Chang's. Philip Chiang--co-founder of the restaurant--couldn't even taste the difference between the gluten free Mongolian Beef and its traditional version.
- In the Philippines, they use local providers. Some products will be imported because of the concept. The vegetables and poultry are from local providers as well as the alcoholic beverages.
- The menu identifies vegetarian and spicy dishes.
- Approximately 28 million pounds of fresh chicken and about 20 million pounds of rice are consumed by P.F. Chang's in the US each year.
- On any given year, P.F. Chang's serves more than 46 million fortune cookies. (How come we didn't get this? -DX)
- The dishes that Philip Chiang developed for P.F. Chang's were inspired by cuisines from the different regions of China: Peking or Northern China (including Mongolia), Shanghai or Eastern China, Cantonese or Southern China, Sichuan and Hunan Twin Western Province of China.
- P.F. Chang's has won the 2012 Cheers Beverage Excellence Award for having the Best Overall Beverage Program. This award is presented by Cheers magazine and is the industry's highest honor for beverage alcohol program operators. The criteria for the award is a particular program's creativity, originality, and impact on the sale and profitability of a full-service restaurant operation. Other factors considered are the level of marketing support, staff training, and overall operator commitment to the initiative that lead to its success.
Overhead shot of the bar
- The name P.F. Chang's is a combination of the name of the founders Paul Fleming and Philip Chiang. So I asked Philip why is there no "i" in P.F. Chang's? Philip said it wasn't a big deal for him and they decided to take it to make it simple (mirroring perhaps his philosophy of making the dishes simple). Besides, Philip said that in China, they spell his name as Jiang.
Will we get to see those pics? -DX
P.F. Chang's interior