SCOTTSDALE, AZ-As it continues to evolve its Pei Wei division, P.F. Chang’s China Bistro will be more cautious about openings in 2009, executives said at the company’s first quarter conference call.

The company plans to open 17 new Bistros and 25 new Pei Wei restaurants, largely in existing markets during 2008. Thus far, according to CEO Rick Federico, the company only has signed about five to seven Pei Wei leases as it continues to refine the concept, now being tested in five units. A system-wide rollout could begin in the summer. But economic conditions are leading to a cautious view on leasing for next year.

“We continue to tee up real estate, but are cautious about signing leases,” Federico said. “In the event we don’t get what we’re looking for, we will see modest development in 2009. As we gain more confidence, we will be backweighted in 2009.”

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