Pei Wei Asian Diner has lit the fire under its websites and other digital platforms to create social media sizzle around its Oct. 8 debut of Sriracha.
Using video and photographs on its special Sriracha Chicken website and backing that up with social media and in-store digital menu board support, the Scottsdale, Ariz.-based fast-casual division of P.F. Chang’s China Bistro Inc. is teasing the debut of the new item.
While the company’s spokeswoman could not be reached for comment, the company has been posting information on its Facebook page since Sept. 10.
“Our Sriracha Chicken launches in one month,” Pei Wei’s Facebook attendants wrote, “and over the next four weeks, we want to take you behind the scenes to see how our chefs took their inspiration from their most-recent Asia trip and turned it into our NEW feature dish — #SrirachaChicken.”
Consumers can also follow the #SrirachaChicken hashtag on Twitter.
“This is a great idea to build awareness about a new item and create excitement,” said Sara A. Polito, who owns the Dallas-based digital consultancy Causing the Stir. “The videos have the potential to go viral as well.”
Polito said her firm had worked on teasing new menus for restaurant clients, but it had not taken on the challenge of promoting a single item’s debut through social media.
Pei Wei’s Facebook and Sriracha Chicken microsite posts also help the brand tell the story behind the new item. Many social media consultants say the background story is especially engaging for customers, especially younger Millennials, or those born between 1980 and 2000.
Pei Wei’s Facebook page, which has more than 136,100 people “liking” it, is also posting links, information and photographs around the Oct. 8 item’s debut.
Polito said her company has had success in offering Facebook half-price offers on new menu introductions to increase new-user trials of the restaurants.
Building excitement in social media also increases anticipation about being possible trendsetter, she said. “People love to be among the first to try something new,” Polito said, “and this helps get them that information first.”
P.F. Chang’s China Bistro and Pei Wei Asian Diner and Asian Market were taken private in a $1.1-billion deal that closed in July with New York-based private equity firm Centerbridge Partners L.P.