Pei Wei closes

Tried eating lunch today at Pei Wei Asian Diner in Rancho Cucamonga (Foothill and Haven, in the Rancho Cucamonga Town Square) and found all the tables bunched together. A couple of workmen dismantling the place told me it’s closed for good.


Signs on the door direct customers to P.F. Chang’s, Pei Wei’s parent chain, or to the Pei Wei opening soon in Chino Hills. Another sign suggests that if you walk a few paces to Daphne’s Greek and tell them you had intended to eat at Pei Wei, you’ll get 10 percent off. Which I did.

I liked Pei Wei, even if they did drop scallops as one of the items (leaving chicken, pork, beef, shrimp or tofu) that you could order in various presentations. The beginning of the end?

City Manager Jack Lam was quite the fan. So was Bulletin sportswriter Clay Fowler, who lives in the adjacent apartments and professed to be “devastated.”

Rather than intrude on Fowler during his grief, I asked Lam for his thoughts. He ate at Pei Wei frequently and even celebrated Chinese New Year there.

“I will miss the restaurant. It was a favorite haunt for those working at City Hall nearby. I liked several dishes but my favorite was the lemon pepper pork!” Lam said via e-mail. “Apparently the lunch crowd was good but the dinner crowd had thinned because of the economy.”

Lam also forwarded a news story about P.F. Chang’s troubles, which you can read by clicking below.

P.F. Chang’s to shutter 10 Pei Wei restaurants

by Ken Alltucker – Oct. 23, 2008 12:00 AM
The Arizona Republic

The slowing economy took a bite out of P.F. Chang’s bottom line and growth plans as the restaurant chain announced it would immediately close 10 slumping Pei Wei locations and scale back restaurant openings next year.

The Scottsdale-based Asian restaurant chain said Wednesday that its quarterly profits dropped more than 40 percent as fewer people dined at P.F. Chang’s China Bistro restaurants. The company took a $7.5 million charge tied to the Pei Wei closings, none of them in Arizona.

CEO Rick Federico said the company would scale back expansion plans for next year as it assesses many factors.

“In the past it has been ‘make money, build restaurants, make more money, build more restaurants,’ ” Federico said.

The chain now expects to open eight to 10 Bistro restaurants and six to 10 Pei Wei locations next year, down from the chain’s earlier plans to open up to 14 Bistros and eight to 10 Pei Wei sites.

Federico said expansion was limited by lack of quality restaurant sites, slowing retail development and lackluster residential growth.

P.F. Chang’s reported net income of $3 million, or 12 cents per share, for the third quarter ending Sept. 28, compared with net income of $5.3 million, or 20 cents per share, in the same quarter one year ago.

Fewer guests dined at the company’s Bistro restaurants, sending same-store sales down 3 percent. Same-store sales declined 2.9 percent at Pei Wei locations.

The restaurant chain revised its profit outlook this year to $1.34 to $1.40 per share, down from a previous estimate of $1.36 to $1.42.

Restaurants will close in Minneapolis; Las Vegas; Colorado; Rhode Island; Chula Vista, Calif.; Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.; and Sacramento.

P.F. Chang’s shares closed Wednesday at $18.11, up 49 cents.

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