Competition among restaurants offering Chinese cuisine is so tight in this country, what with longtime establishments and popular startups. Archie Rodriguez, CEO of Global Restaurant Concepts Inc. (GRCI), is unfazed, viewing it as a welcome challenge. In fact, his company just brought in resto chain P.F. Chang’s from the United States.
Managed by the same team running upscale casual dining restaurants California Pizza Kitchen and Orchard Road, P.F. Chang’s opened its first branch at the Alabang Town Center in Muntinlupa City, the brand’s 217th in the world.
Philip Chiang, one of the restaurant’s namesakes, founded P.F. Chang’s with fellow restaurateur Philip Fleming in 1993 in Scottsdale, Arizona. Known for its unique blend of Chinese cuisine, wines, desserts, and impeccable service, the restaurant has grown tremendously in the last two decades and often frequented by celebrities.
Beyond its exquisite menu, it was consistent quality of food and service that prompted Rodriguez to bring the brand to the country. P.F. Chang’s specializes in authentic Chinese cuisine but with less oil, and if possible, without cornstarch (a traditional ingredient in Chinese food), following Chiang’s culinary philosophies.
“The food was amazing. It was not greasy at all,” says Rodriguez. The restaurant is known for its minimal use of garnishes and extraneous ingredients, even sticking to no more than three ingredients in each dish.
“This, apart from the bistro setting and the exceptional service, was enough to convince me that we could easily be distinguished from our competition,” adds Rodriguez.
P.F. Chang’s also fit GRCI’s criteria in choosing the brands to bring in the country. “The brand must have integrity, a solid identity. It must know who and what it is. Good food is universal and paramount, that’s why service and culture must be exceptional. It must also be family-friendly and have a casual setting,” he says.
It is also important that GRCI keeps up with its brands’ standards in ensuring food safety and making use of quality ingredients. “We work only with suppliers who are committed to the same (standards). We have daily, weekly, and monthly reviews at all levels to ensure that we consistently deliver the best ingredients that go into preparing each dish,” he says.