P.F. Chang’s Highlights Digital Focus with New To-Go Locations

The fast-food staple wants to drive more customers towards ordering with the app, leading to more loyalty and better personalization.

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Need to Know

  • P.F. Chang’s is pivoting to focus on To-Go locations by renovating and opening new locations in the Chicago area.
  • The new locations will focus on digital orders made through P.F. Chang’s app, delivery services, and other takeout orders.
  • Along with a move to digital ordering, consumers are looking for convenience above all.
  • 60% of all American households order takeout at least once a week.

Analysis

P.F Chang’s is closing its 20-year-old dine-in restaurant in the heart of Chicago, and replacing it with three brand new To-Go locations. Chicago will be the first city to see their new concepts, but plans include expansion to Washington, Houston, and New York.

Chris Demery, P.F. Chang’s senior vice president of off-premises dining said, “People want good quality food at their door, whether that’s their car door, house door or business door.” Demery also stated that the reason for the closing is a non-renewable lease at the location.

It’s unsurprising that the US Asian-food staple is choosing to go the route of take-out, delivery, and catering versus continuing to open and offer dine-in experiences. The goal is to drive users towards downloading and utilizing P.F. Chang’s app, which has loyalty and rewards built-in. If more consumers order via the app, the company can better understand what trends to focus on and offer more personalization.

Digital ordering and delivery have grown 300% faster than dine-in traffic since 2014, and even working with a delivery service like DoorDash, UberEats, or GrubHub can raise restaurant sales volumes by 10-20%. 

It’s estimated that food ordered via smartphones and mobile apps will become a $38 billion industry this year: 2020.

Demery also said that “the business of eating off-site is growing at two to three times the pace of the business of eating in restaurants.” 

These quick-service restaurants, or QSRs, are growing into an industry fulfilling the millennial need for convenience, but they’re in high competition with each other. 

For example, McDonald’s mobile ordering and mobile pickup parking, and Chipotle’s “Chipotlanes” and mobile app constitute a huge portion of the market without any slowing down to be seen. Starbucks is opening to-go locations in New York City and Toronto that focus on app orders.

P.F. Chang’s will be available for delivery through its app and website, but also through third-party delivery services including UberEats, DoorDash, Postmates, and Grubhub. 

Tana Davila, P.F. Chang’s chief marketing officer, said To Go is “a complementary business model that meets a growing customer demand for fast, accessible, elevated dining options. To be clear, we’re not replacing in-house dining, but ensuring our guests have a variety of ways to enjoy P.F. Chang’s.”

The To-Go locations will offer 80% of the current menu, still all made from scratch.

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