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PF Chang’s in Durham, North Carolina: Poor Service

PF Chang’s is one of my favorite restaurants, and I have been to one in just about every city in which I have visited or lived. Today, I had lunch at the PF Chang’s at the Southpoint Mall in Durham, North Carolina. The food was excellent, as usual, but the customer service left a bit to be desired.

The nutritional listings next to each item make it simple for anyone, regardless of dietary concerns, to assess the menu and see if Chang’s is the place to go. The restaurant has items that are appropriate for low-fat, low-carb, and even gluten-free diets. It is actually one of the few places I have been that has a gluten-free menu.


All Pf Changs have the same décor and ambiance. The lighting is dim but comfortable, and the restaurant is decorated in earth tones, with stone walls, and Asian art. There is a distinct retro modern feel to it. The atmosphere is trendy but casual at the same time and anyone in any attire could feel comfortable there. There are booths and tables to seat small and large parties. We requested a booth but none were available, so we were seated in a half booth/half table.

The restaurant is typically very busy, which means it is never really quiet. It is not difficult to hear others speak, however for some it might tend to get a bit noisy and be a bit off putting.

The Service:

The service at the Southpoint Pf Chang’s was okay, and unfortunately, that’s the best I can say. Everyone we dealt with was nice enough and attentive enough, but I wouldn’t say there was any real attempt at quality customer service. I wasn’t wowed, and after years of working in customer service, I want to be wowed. I don’t want to be overwhelmed, but I also don’t want to be ignored.

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Our server was very professional and accommodating just not terribly friendly. The same can be said for the hostesses and the food servers. This is nothing that would keep me from coming back to this restaurant, and as I said, I don’t want to be bombarded either. I just had expected a bit more of a personal touch.

The Food:

The food, as always, was outstanding. It did take a while for us to get our appetizers and our entrees, but this more goes in line with service. The food is the reason I go back to Pf Chang’s as often as I can, and I was not disappointed. I had fried dumplings and honey chicken with white rice.

The only complaints I really have about my meal were there were not enough dumplings, only four when other restaurants give between six and eight for the same price, and a bit too much citrus in the honey chicken. The chicken was still excellent, but I had not expected an orange or lemon flavor and was therefore slightly put off by it at first. But, on a scale of 1-10 in flavor, still a ten!


Prices for Pf Chang’s are very reasonable and range anywhere from $5-15 for both appetizers and entrees. One can have a full meal, with appetizer, entrée, and dessert for less than $20, which is something that can’t be said for so many nice restaurants. I love going to Chang’s because I know I can get excellent food in a warm but trendy atmosphere and not pay a fortune.


There is ample parking space for patrons in the Pf Chang’s parking lot. We ate lunch there on Sunday, and although the restaurant was busy, we had no trouble parking in front. The restrooms were kept clean and were well maintained, as well. I can think of no complaints about the cleanliness and upkeep of any of the facilities.

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My overall dining experience at the Pf Chang’s at Southpoint in Durham was very good. I was not terribly impressed with the service, but I was also not dissatisfied. The atmosphere and the food always make Chang’s a favorite dining spot for me, and I have no doubts I will return to this restaurant soon.