Wok's aren't the only thing getting fired up at Pei Wei Asian Kitchen. Pei Wei is highlighting its partnership with Food Network star Jet Tila on a wide variety of new menu items.
On May 13, 2019, Pei Wei was acquired by financier Lorne Goldberg (who also owns Pick Up Stix, Leeann Chin and Mandarin Express). Combined with Pei Wei, the concepts boast a portfolio of nearly 300 Asian restaurants in the US. All restaurants are company-owned except for its airports, colleges, and casinos.
Following the Pei Wei acquisition, heavy emphasis was placed on restructuring the company. Part of the restructuring focused on pivoting to digital sales and improving the spirit, culture, and leadership of the organization. Also, the menu was greatly enhanced by Chef Jet's culinary ingenuity. This led to an extraordinary economic turnaround with digital sales of 55%.
Just as Pei Wei began to take off with their digital service model during Covid, Chef Jet Tila launched a trio of signature dishes, highlighted by the incredibly craveable, and low-calorie Thai Coconut Curry, along with the Spicy Korean BBQ Steak and Thai Basil Cashew Chicken. Chef Jet's innovative recipes and unique flavors were an instant hit with guests.
Rolling into 2021, Chef Jet continued to work with the Pei Wei team on amazing new recipes for House Special Chicken, Mongolian Green Beans, and a Spicy Drunken Noodles dish, which became an instant fan favorite. During Cinco de Mayo, Chef Jet introduced the limited time Asian Nachos with crispy wonton chips drizzled in Sriracha mayo. The biggest launch of the year came over the summer with the Firecracker Chicken and Tofu. Loaded with explosive sweet and spicy flavors, Firecracker Chicken instantly became the top selling item on the Pei Wei menu.
All launches were supported by a fun and creative marketing strategy layered throughout digital channels, like the "Intoxicatingly Delicious" campaign for Drunken Noodles or "Witch better have my Pumpkin Spice" ad to introduce a Pumpkin Spice Donut LTO during the Fall. Chef Jet hosted zoom events where he would cook his new recipes to an audience of influencers.
Pei Wei has more big plans for 2022! In addition to new restaurants, ghost kitchens and digital kitchens, Pei Wei is launching Grilled Bourbon Chicken in February, which is expected to become one of their most successful launches ever. Stay tuned for more Tila dishes and innovations at Pei Wei throughout the year.