Monday, October 29, 2018

Pei Wei Asian Diner When you Can’t Beat Them Copy Them

When a brand loses traction; it needs a refresh and there are times that the refresh is as simple a follow the leader according to Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®. That my friends is called copy-cat marketing and has been a staple of the restaurant industry for 70+ years.
That’s right just look at the burger chains, pizza chains, and chicken chains and then look at the number of $ 5.00 meal deals the fast food sector has to offer.  Copy-Cat marketing works my friends and Pei Wei is no the right track.
Just last month, Pei Wei launched a TV ad highlighting its orange chicken as “Wei better” than the competition’s offering. While Pei Wei claims it hired a private investigator to determine the ingredients in Panda Express’ orange chicken, Brandon Solano, Pei Wei’s chief marketing officer, told Restaurant Business and we believe him as it happens all of the time.
Panda Express, in a panic released a statement to Restaurant Business, saying it pays attention to consumer requests, such as adding more "health-forward" offerings and removing trans fats from all items, and would begin listing all ingredients in its “core dishes” on its website in the next year. In short, they are retooling as a ‘better-for-you’ concept.  However, when they tried to go to all brown rice the consumers complained and yes, they have white rice again and sell much more of that we are told.
“Deeply rooted in this work is a foundation of transparency and care; when a guest calls, we take the time to discuss allergens and nutritionals, as well as the full ingredient list upon request,” the statement said. “While these types of changes take time to scale and achieve our standards, we believe that a strong food philosophy is an important part of this promise and our culinary innovation team is hard at work to bring this vision to life.”
Pei Wei, only has close to 200 units to Panda Express’ more than 2,000 locations so they must try harder in very smart move Pei Wei petitioned the Food and Drug Administration asking that restaurants be required to disclose their menus’ ingredients.
Pei Wei has said that by 2020 they will eliminate all artificial colors, flavors and preservatives. It also published the full list of ingredients for its top-selling orange chicken. The chain plans to release the ingredient lists for all of its dishes in coming months. Johnson, thinks that a great move as consumer don’t want to cook at home anyway.  Copy-Cat marketing works but you need to be better at messaging, service, and price to drive customer migration according to Johnson.
Foodservice Solutions® specializes in outsourced food marketing and business development ideations. We can help you identify, quantify and qualify additional food retail segment opportunities or a new menu product segment and brand and menu integration strategy.  Foodservice Solutions® of Tacoma WA is the global leader in the Grocerant niche visit Johnson, or

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