Road Warriors can count on finding Chinese food in almost every town — the mystery lies in whether the Kung Pao chicken is up to par.

Thanks to P.F. Chang’s China Bistro Inc., even that uncertainty might be banished. The 81-restaurant chain has translated consistent-quality Chinese food into a thriving business.
Even in a down economy, year-over-year revenues jumped at least 30 percent in each quarter of 2002, with annual sales topping $400 million. Now in 29 states, the company plans to add 15-17 new locations this year.

Ten years ago, P.F. Chang’s was a gleam in the eye of Phoenix restaurateur Paul Fleming, who thought large open floor spaces, espresso machines, extensive wine lists, and a full array of desserts would set P.F. Chang’s apart from independent Chinese eateries; in fact, P.F. Chang’s has more in common with your typical upscale casual restaurant, says chairman and CEO Richard Federico.

Next on the horizon? A lower-priced concept, Pei Wei Asian Diner. Pei Wei eateries are already in Arizona, California, and Texas, and the company plans to take the concept nationwide. Chinese-food-loving travelers are probably already waiting.