Andrew Cherng

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Andrew Cherng
Andrew Cherng.jpg
Jin Chang Cherng

April 1948 (age 74)
Alma materBaker University (B.S., Mathematics, 1970)
University of Missouri (M.S., Mathematics, 1972)
Occupation(s)entrepreneur, restaurateur, philanthropist
Known forFounder of the Panda Express restaurant chain
(m. 1975)
Children3 [1]
ParentMing-Tsai Cherng (father)

Andrew Cherng (Chinese: 程正昌; pinyin: Chéng Zhèngchāng;[2] pronounced Chur-ng; born April 1948) is a Chinese-born American billionaire restaurateur. He is the founder and chairman of Panda Restaurant Group, based in Rosemead, California.[3] He is the co-founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of Panda Express. The Cherngs invest out of their family office, the Cherng Family Trust.

Early life and education[edit]

Cherng was born in April 1948 in Yangzhou, Jiangsu Province, Republic of China on the northern bank of the Yangtze River.[4] His father was Ming-Tsai Cherng, a chef.

He and his family moved to Taiwan after the Kuomintang was defeated on mainland China in the end of the Chinese Civil War,[1] and in 1963, his family moved to Yokohama, Japan, where his father had taken a job as a chef.[5]

In 1966, at age 18, he immigrated to the United States to study at an American university. He earned a bachelor's degree in mathematics in 1970 from Baker University in Baldwin City, Kansas, and a master's degree in applied mathematics from the University of Missouri in 1972.[4] At Baker he had met his future wife, Peggy Tsiang, born in Burma and raised in Hong Kong,[6] who went on to earn a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Oregon State University in 1971 and a PhD in electrical engineering from the University of Missouri.[5]

Business career[edit]

In 1972, he moved to the Los Angeles area to help his cousin run a restaurant called Ting Ho. After a few months, he found a restaurant in Pasadena to take over.

In June 1973, along with his father Ming Tsai Cherng, they took over a restaurant and started a new Chinese restaurant called Panda Inn in Pasadena, California on Foothill Boulevard, using funds from the family and a Small Business Administration loan. It opened on June 8, 1973.[4] The cuisine was more general Chinese than the Cantonese usually found in the area.

In 1983, Andrew Cherng opened the first Panda Express, a fast food restaurant, at the newly opened Glendale Galleria II mall in Glendale, California.[7][8] He had been prompted to start the spin off by the developer of the mall who had eaten at Panda Inn and invited Cherng to take a place at the food court.[9]

The company had expanded to 100 restaurants by 1993, with the opening of an outlet at the University of California, Los Angeles.[8]

Cherng has stated a preference for keeping the company closely held.[1] However, in 2006 he told USA Today if the company could get a valuation close to that of Chipotle Mexican Grill, he might reconsider his stance.[8] However, in an interview with The Seattle Times newspaper in 2008, he said he would not be interested in making the company public, saying they did not need the money and citing concerns with the trouble and expense of dealing with shareholders.[1]

The Cherngs have since invested heavily in new restaurant concepts such as Just Salad, YakiYan, Ippudo, and Pieology.[10]

In 2018, it was announced that the Cherng Family Trust purchased the former Mandarin Oriental hotel on the Las Vegas Strip and rebranded it as a Waldorf Astoria. The total acquisition price for the property was $214 million.[11]


In February 2011, the Cherngs donated $2.5 million to support the Collins College of Hospitality Management at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona.[12][13]

In March 2017, the California Institute of Technology announced that they were changing the name of its medical engineering department to the Andrew and Peggy Cherng Department of Medical Engineering after receiving a $30 million gift from Andrew and Peggy Cherng.[14] In the following month, the University of Missouri announced receiving a $1.5 million gift from the Cherngs which would benefit its Honors College.[15]

Personal life[edit]

Andrew and Peggy, an engineer who was working for aircraft companies in the Los Angeles area, and who both first met in college, married in 1975. They have three daughters. Two of their daughters, Andrea and Nicole, work for the Panda company in its corporate headquarters in Rosemead.[16] Their daughter Michelle is a primary/secondary school teacher.

In 2015, it was reported that he and his wife had invested $15.2 million in a beachfront property and home in Honolulu.[17] In 2018, the couple purchased a mansion in Henderson, Nevada.[18]


  • Since 2010, Cherng has been a member of the Committee of 100, an international, non-profit, non-partisan membership organization that brings a Chinese American perspective to issues concerning Asian Americans and U.S.-China relations.[19]
  • In 2008, Cherng was listed in Forbes' Twenty-Five Notable Chinese-Americans.[20]
  • In 2008, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona conferred Cherng with an honorary doctorate.[21]


  1. ^ a b c d Hirsch, Jerry (August 31, 2008), "Profile: Andrew Cherng, Panda Express founder", Seattle Times
  2. ^ "MEMBERS | Committee 100".
  3. ^ "About Panda Restaurant Group". Panda Restaurant Group. Archived from the original on 2011-01-10.
  4. ^ a b c Eng, Dinah (February 19, 2013). "How Panda Express brings Chinese food to the mall". Fortune magazine.
  5. ^ a b Levine, Bettijane (July 1, 2011). "Passion for Panda". Pasadena Weekly.
  6. ^ Jennings, Lisa (August 1, 2005). "Having words with Peggy Tsiang Cherng: chief executive and co-chair, Panda Restaurant Group". Nation's Restaurant News. Archived from the original on May 31, 2016.
  7. ^ "The Tao of Panda". Panda Express.
  8. ^ a b c Krantz, Matt (September 13, 2006). "Panda Express spreads Chinese food across USA". USA Today.
  9. ^ Hirsch, Jerry (August 31, 2008). "Profile | Andrew Cherng, Panda Express founder". Seattle Times.
  10. ^ "Panda Express founders bolster investment group". 30 September 2016. Retrieved 20 February 2018.
  11. ^ "Hilton's Waldorf Astoria to debut in Las Vegas". 2018-08-30. Retrieved 24 September 2018.
  12. ^ "Panda Express founders pledge $2.5 million". Fast Casual. February 28, 2011.
  13. ^ Galindo, Erick (March 4, 2011). "Panda's pledge: Founders donate $2.5M to Cal Poly Pomona". San Bernardino Sun. Archived from the original on 2017-04-05.
  14. ^ Henry, Jason (March 28, 2017). "Panda Express founders donate $30 million to Caltech in hopes of inspiring other immigrants". Pasadena Star-News.
  15. ^ Jost, Ashley (April 28, 2017). "Panda Express execs give $1.5 million to Mizzou". St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
  16. ^ Leibowitz, Ed (April 20, 2015). "The Tao of Panda Express: The Chinese food chain's success story—how a single outlet in the Glendale Galleria grew to 1,800 locations worldwide—begins with one secret ingredient: owners who care". LA Magazine.
  17. ^ Shimogawa, Duane (March 24, 2015). "Panda Express billionaire founders buy $15.2M Hawaii oceanfront estate". American City Business Journals.
  18. ^ "Andrew & Peggy Cherng's House in Henderson, NV". 24 November 2019.
  19. ^ "About Us: Members". Committee of 100. Archived from the original on 2011-02-04. Retrieved 2013-07-01.
  20. ^ "Twenty-Five Notable Chinese-Americans". Forbes. September 5, 2008.
  21. ^ "Bio: Andrew Cherng". California State Polytechnic University. 2008.

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