Pei Wei Launches Test Kitchen with Innovative Menu

New Korean Bbq Street Tacos | Pei Wei

New Korean Bbq Street Tacos | Pei Wei

The Asian inspired fast casual concept, Pei Wei is opening the Pei Wei Test Kitchen. This restaurant, located near the company’s headquarters in Scottdale, Arizona, is open to guests.

Taste-tasters will be giving their input on over 30 new dishes and refined menu options that are being tested for a national rollout. These new items are all part of the restaurant’s 2017 rebrand.

Some of these new dishes include-

  • Spicy Peanut Chicken Satay Bowl
  • Vietnamese Chicken Pho
  • Pork Belly Ramen
  • Asian Street Tacos
  • Wok-Tossed Wings
  • Kimchi Fried Rice Bowls
  • Korean BBQ Steak Bibimbap

Will some of these dishes be well-received enough to expand to all the Pei Wei stores?

"The Pei Wei Test Kitchen will offer our guests innovative new dishes, reflective of our Pan-Asian approach, unlike anything currently available in the fast casual category. Our strategy continues to deliver on our brand promise of flavor with purpose – bold taste, optimized by fresh ingredients with nutritional benefits," said Clay Dover, Pei Wei’s chief marketing officer in a press release. "We will leverage our open concept kitchen to gather essential feedback from actual guests in real time to guide future decision-making. Our goal is to respond quickly to their input and market trends as we evolve our menu."

The Brand is Stepping it Up

It’s not just the menu that the brand is getting innovative with, the brand will be using My Wei Rewards member data to see the feedback from guests who have ordered a Test Kitchen menu options.

Besides the revamp on the menu by Pei Wei chefs, the fast casual’s test restaurant features a fresh new interior and exterior. The décor features new signage and artwork, which the brand is also testing their guest with this more progressive look.

The brand also did some experimenting this summer with their menu options. Pei Wei started offering new salads to appeal to the health-conscious consumer. The brand also introduced the Honey Sriracha Wings, an offering that performed well in their test markets.

“We tested the wings in eight markets, including our home market of Phoenix. They did phenomenally well and we expect them to become a new fan favorite,” said Adam Schreier, director of culinary innovation at Pei Wei in a press release.

So what has caused Pei Wei to up the ante’? Well, the fast casual segment has a ton of new players now. These fast casual 2.0 concepts, like Sweet Greens and Naf Naf Grill are elevating the segment as a whole. So, former top dogs like Pei Wei and will have to adapt to survive.