PF Chang's opened in China as a 'sexy and cool' American bistro -- and the CEO says the chain can be bigger there than in America

PF Chang’sPF Chang’s Shanghai location is aiming for a ‘sexy and cool’ atmosphere.
  • PF Chang’s opened its first “American bistro” in China in April.
  • The “sexy and cool” restaurant is being advertised as an “American bistro,” despite the menu’s similarities to US locations that were previously called “China bistros.”
  • “I sincerely think we can be bigger in China than we are in the US,” CEO Michael Osanloo told Business Insider.

PF Chang’s has opened its first “American bistro” in China.

The iconic Asian-American chain opened its first location in Shanghai in late April. CEO Michael Osanloo already has high hopes for the future of the chain in China, where it is being advertised as an “American bistro.”

“I sincerely think we can be bigger in China than we are in the US,” Osanloo told Business Insider.

PF Chang’s currently has more than 300 locations around the world, and it is gearing up for more international expansion. The chain plans to open 12 to 14 new locations internationally in 2018, in countries including China, Bolivia, and Pakistan.

In tests, PF Chang’s found that the American bistro concept resonated best with Chinese customers. While the restaurant design and menu format have been tweaked somewhat, many factors remain the same in the Shanghai location, despite the American branding.

Pf changsP.F. Chang’sPF Chang’s biggest hits are the same in the US and China.

“Our top three dishes right now are three of our top four dishes in the US: Chang’s chicken, lettuce wraps, and dynamite shrimp,” Osanloo said.

The Shanghai location additionally has some menu items that are specific to the restaurant, such as duck spring rolls and tea cakes. Osanloo believes the chain’s American nature has the chance to pay off big for PF Chang’s.

“You go to the fanciest Chinese restaurants – it’s closer to our food,” he said. “So, I think our food in China is where Chinese cuisine is going.”

Down the line, the Shanghai American bistro may ultimately end up influencing PF Chang’s locations in the US. The chain’s trendier design and photo-heavy menu are already proving to be advantages for the location, according to Osanloo.

“It’s elegant, it’s sort of sexy and cool,” Osanloo said. “It’s where hip, cool people want to go.”

NOW WATCH: Briefing videos

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.