Panda Express

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Panda Express
Private Subsidiary
Industry Food service
Genre Chinese cuisine
Founded October 1983; 34 years ago (1983-10)
Glendale, California, U.S.
Founder
Headquarters 1683 Walnut Grove Avenue, Rosemead, California, U.S.[1]
Number of locations
2,000+ (2017)
Area served
United States, Puerto Rico, Guam, Mexico,[2] Canada, South Korea, United Arab Emirates, Japan, Guatemala, El Salvador
Products American Chinese cuisine
Revenue $2 billion (March 2014)[3]
Number of employees
24,995 (2014)[4]
Parent Panda Restaurant Group
Website pandaexpress.com
A stand-alone Panda Express restaurant in Oakland, California with drive-through window
A mall food court Panda Express at the Ala Moana Center in Hawaii

Panda Express is a fast casual restaurant chain which serves American Chinese cuisine. With approximately 2,000+[5] locations, it is the largest Asian segment restaurant chain in the United States,[6] where it was founded and is mainly located (in addition to other countries and territories in North America and Asia). Panda Express restaurants were traditionally located in shopping mall food courts, but the chain now operates units in many other environments and formats, including stand-alone restaurants, as well as universities, casinos, airports, military bases, amusement parks and other venues.

Panda Express has over 2,000 restaurants, located in 49 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, Canada, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, South Korea, and the United Arab Emirates.

A typical Panda Express meal: Kung Pao chicken, orange chicken, chow mein and steamed vegetables

The chain offers a variety of Chinese-cuisine-inspired dishes (e.g., Orange Chicken; Firecracker Chicken Breast; Beijing Beef; Grilled Teriyaki Chicken; Kung Pao Chicken). "Combo meals" are served with customer's choice of either fried rice, steamed rice, chow mein, or mixed vegetables. No MSG is added to any of the items at Panda Express after it has been delivered to the restaurant, nor does Panda Express purchase from any suppliers who add MSG.[7]

Panda Express is headquartered in Rosemead, California.[8] The Panda Express brand is a casual, fast-food variation of corporate sibling Panda Inn (a chain of upscale, table service restaurants).

History[edit]

A typical Panda Express in Fort Worth, Texas (2014)

The Panda Restaurant Group, parent company of Panda Inn, Panda Express, and Hibachi-San, was founded by Andrew Cherng, Peggy Cherng and Andrew's father, Master Chef Ming Tsai Cherng.[9] Andrew Cherng and his father are from the Yangzhou region of China's Jiangsu province, while Peggy was born in Burma and raised in Hong Kong.[10] Both Andrew and Peggy Cherng are alumni of Baker University in Baldwin City, Kansas (where they first met).[11][12]

Andrew went into business with his father in the United States in 1973, opening their first Panda Inn restaurant in Pasadena, California.[10][11] At the beginning, business was lacking to the degree that Andrew had to offer special deals and freebies so that customers would dine at Panda Inn.[13] In 1982, Peggy joined Andrew in the restaurant business.[10] While operating Panda Inn, Andrew became acquainted with then-UCLA head football coach Terry Donahue, as well as Terry's brother Dan, who happened to be in the real estate business.[10] It was because of this connection that in 1983, Donahue Schriber Real Estate, the manager of the Glendale Galleria, invited the Cherngs to develop a fast-food version of Panda Inn for the Galleria's food court, and Panda Express was launched that October.[14] A second location was opened two years later at the Westside Pavilion in 1985.[15] The chain has steadily expanded across the United States since then. Chef Andy Kao claims to have developed the original Chinese-American orange chicken recipe at a Panda Express in Hawaii in 1987.[16]

At first, Panda Express restaurants were found solely in food courts in major shopping malls.[10] During the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Cherngs began experimenting with supermarket-based branches, through a deal with Vons, and then stand-alone restaurant locations.[10] In 1997, the company opened its first stand-alone, drive-through restaurant, in Hesperia, California.[17] Today less than 2% of its restaurants are in malls.[18]

Because Peggy had worked for several years as a software designer & engineer for defense contractors like McDonnell Douglas, Panda Express computerized its operations early on.[10][11] Peggy also brought a systems analysis perspective to the business and worked through the logistics and standardization issues necessary to scale up the concept.[10][11]

In 2005, Panda Express began to open units in food courts on college campus, some of which participate in the residential student meal plans.[19] In 2008, the Cherngs were the recipients of the City of Angels Award, given by the LAX Coastal Area Chamber of Commerce,[20] for their contributions to the greater Los Angeles area.[21] As of 2007, the company's highest revenue location, bringing in over US$4 million annually, was located at the Ala Moana Center food court in Honolulu, Hawaii.[22] On November 23, 2009, it was announced that Panda Express had selected Trusonic to provide Asian themed background music to its store locations.[23]

On the ABC News TV program Nightline, April 18, 2011, there was a feature segment on Panda Express and its success. The segment described how Andrew Cherng encourages his workers and management to go through self-help programs emphasizing Landmark Education.[24]

In June 2013, it was announced that the restaurant chain will pay $150,000 to settle an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission action on behalf of at least three female teenagers who were allegedly sexually harassed between 2007 and 2009 by one male kitchen supervisor in Kauai, Hawaii.[25]

Later that year, Panda Express opened its first location in the western Pacific by opening a location in the American territory of Guam.[26] The first location in the state of Alaska was later opened in December 2015.[27]

As of 2014, the Panda Restaurant Group had annual sales of over $2 billion and close to 25,000 employees.[28] They also opened Panda Innovation Kitchen in Pasadena with their daughter, Peggy Cherng, overlooking a majority of the restaurant's business.[29] The idea for Panda Innovation Kitchen is to experiment with new flavours and ingredients to come up with new menu items. In addition, they also opened a tea bar to introduce Taiwanese drinks such as boba milk tea and new drinks like the Fortune Cookie Shake.[30]

In December 2017, Panda Express had opened the chain's 2,000th location, which is located in New York City near Columbia University.[31]

International[edit]

Panda Express also operates in Canada, Guatemala, Japan, Mexico, South Korea and the United Arab Emirates. The first location in Mexico opened in Mexico City in September 2011.[32]

In October 2013, the first Panda Express located in Canada opened its doors on Hunt Club Road in Nepean, Ontario.[citation needed] The first location in Calgary was opened in October 2016.[33]

The first location in South Korea was opened in Seoul in September 2014.[34]

On May 26, 2014, it was reported by Arabian Business news that Panda Express would be opening a restaurant in the United Arab Emirates.[35] The first Panda Express restaurant in the Middle East was open in Dubai in November 2014.[36]

In July 2016, Panda Express opened its first location in Guatemala, in Guatemala City.[37]

In July 2018, Panda Express opened 2 locations in San Salvador, El Salvador.[38]

Panda Express previously had eight locations in Japan that were operated under a franchise agreement that later lapsed.[14] In November 2016, the company returned to the country by opening a new location in Kawasaki. [39] This new location is operated as part of a joint partnership with Ippudo. [40]

Philanthropy[edit]

In 2000, Panda Express launched Panda Cares to give back to the community. They provide funding, food and volunteer services to children in need and disaster relief efforts.[41] The company installed donation boxes in all the Panda Express restaurants in 2010. The charity has raised $107 million, with $89 million coming from in-store donation boxes, and $41 million has been donated to "The Leader In Me", a program to teach leadership and life skills that has been rolled out to 865 elementary schools in 39 states.The organization has also donated $37 million to Children's Miracle Network Hospitals, to support medical costs for poor children, and also supports disaster relief efforts.[42]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "About Us". Panda Restaurant Group. Archived from the original on July 25, 2012. 
  2. ^ "Panda Express". Panda Express Mexico. 
  3. ^ "The Tao Of Panda - Panda Express Chinese Restaurant". Panda Express. Archived from the original on August 2, 2012. 
  4. ^ "The Tao Of Panda - Panda Express Chinese Restaurant". pandaexpress.com. Archived from the original on August 2, 2012. 
  5. ^ Bartiromo, Maria (November 2007). "Positive Thinkers". Reader's Digest. Archived from the original on December 5, 2007. 
  6. ^ Oches, Sam (2013-07-29). "The QSR 50 Asian Segment". QSR magazine. Retrieved 2016-05-21. 
  7. ^ "FAQ". Panda Express. Panda Express does not add MSG to any of our entrees or sides and we do not purchase products from suppliers who add MSG. However, glutamate is found naturally in some ingredients. 
  8. ^ "Contact Us". Panda Express. Archived from the original on February 12, 2010. Retrieved February 26, 2010. 
  9. ^ "Panda Restaurant Group History". Panda Restaurant Group. Archived from the original on March 10, 2007. 
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h Eng, Dinah (5 February 2013). "How Panda Express brings Chinese food to the mall". Fortune. Time Inc. Retrieved 28 June 2015. 
  11. ^ a b c d Greenfeld, Karl Taro (18 November 2010). "General Tso, Meet Steven Covey". Bloomberg BusinessWeek. Bloomberg, L.P. Retrieved 28 June 2015. 
  12. ^ "Cherngs honored for contributions in L.A. area" (PDF). Baker Pride alumni magazine. Baldwin City, Kansas: Baker University. Spring 2008. 
  13. ^ Leibowitz, Ed (April 20, 2015). "The Tao of Panda Express". Los Angeles Magazine. Retrieved 2015-12-10. 
  14. ^ a b Flanigan, James (October 8, 2001). "Cooking Up a Powerhouse of Chinese Fast Food". Los Angeles Times. p. C1. 
  15. ^ Hirsch, Jerry (August 25, 2008). "Panda Express owner keeps early years fresh: Fear of no customers keeps Andrew Cherng focused at family-owned fast-food chain". Chicago Tribune. 
  16. ^ Orange Chicken, Panda Express' Gift To American Chinese Food, Turns 30
  17. ^ Bruce, Haring (August 9, 2004). "Panda gains higher visibility for chain amid shift from malls, food courts". Nation's Restaurant News. p. 6 – via HighBeam Research. (Subscription required (help)). 
  18. ^ Taylor, Kate (9 March 2017). "DEATH OF THE FOOD COURT: Iconic mall chains like Cinnabon, Sbarro, and Panda Express are transforming to survive". Business Insider. Retrieved 10 March 2017. 
  19. ^ "Panda Express Brings Fresh-Wokked Dishes to College Campuses; Restaurant Chain Expands in Non-Traditional Venues Including Six New University Locations in 2005 and More on the Way". Business Wire (Press release). December 7, 2005. 
  20. ^ "LAX Coastal Chamber of Commerce - Home". LAX Coastal Chamber of Commerce. Archived from the original on February 22, 2009. 
  21. ^ "Andrew and Peggy Cherng of Panda Restaurant Group Receive City of Angels Award Honoring Contributions to the Los Angeles Area". Business Wire (Press release). February 8, 2008. Archived from the original on July 10, 2012. 
  22. ^ Shimabukuro, Betty (January 17, 2007). "Orange Chicken on the house". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Retrieved January 17, 2007. 
  23. ^ "Panda Express Selects Trusonic(R) to Provide In-Store Background Music". PR Newswire (Press release). November 23, 2009. 
  24. ^ Berman, John & Rosenberg, Sarah (April 18, 2011). "Panda Express: Self-Help Courses and Zumba Are Recipe for Success? CEO Says Motivational Forums, Not Orange Chicken, Make His Business Successful". Nightline. ABC News. 
  25. ^ "Panda Express Agrees to Early Settlement with Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to Resolve Sexual Harassment Suit". U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (Press release). June 3, 2013. Retrieved June 20, 2013 – via The National Law Review. 
  26. ^ "Panda Express Expansion Continues with Guam Opening". Asian Journal. November 28, 2013. 
  27. ^ Caldwell, Suzanna (December 17, 2015). "Alaska gets its first Panda Express, with 9 more locations in the works". Alaska Dispatch News. 
  28. ^ "Panda Restaurant Group information page". Panda Restaurant Group. Archived from the original on March 10, 2007. 
  29. ^ Hua, Vanessa (June 8, 2015). "How Panda Express Grew From Family Business to Global Empire". NBC News. Retrieved 2015-12-10. 
  30. ^ "How Panda Express Grew From Family Business to Global Empire". NBC News. Retrieved 2017-11-16. 
  31. ^ Express, Panda (December 4, 2017). "Panda Express Celebrates Milestone Opening Of 2,000th Restaurant Worldwide: America's favorite Chinese kitchen offers commemorative gift to first 2,000 guests at opening of location in Manhattan". PR Newswire (Press release). 
  32. ^ Smith, Kevin (September 8, 2011). "Panda Express expands with new location in Mexico City". San Gabriel Valley Tribune. 
  33. ^ William-Ross, Lindsay (October 28, 2016). "Panda Express opens first Calgary location". Daily Hive. 
  34. ^ "Panda Express opens in Seoul". Korea Herald. September 5, 2014. 
  35. ^ Sambidge, Andy (26 May 2014). "Gourmet Gulf set to launch Panda Express in UAE". Arabian Business. 
  36. ^ Mattar, Hattem (November 11, 2014). "Food Review: Panda Express from the U.S. Now in Dubai". Scoop Empire. 
  37. ^ "El sabor de Panda Express llega a Guatemala para quedarse" [The flavor of Panda Express arrives in Guatemala to stay]. Publinews (in Spanish). July 12, 2016. Panda Express es una franquicia americana de comida china reconocida a nivel internacional y por primera vez llega a Guatemala. 
  38. ^ Alemán, Uveli (July 6, 2018). "Franquicia Panda Express abre dos restaurantes en El Salvador" [Franchise Panda Express opens two restaurants in El Salvador]. El Mundo (in Spanish). 
  39. ^ Kotaki, Shiori (28 November 2016). "We checked out Panda Express Kawasaki (so you don't have to)". TimeOut Tokyo. 
  40. ^ Hatic, Dana (30 September 2016). "Panda Express Is Taking Its Orange Chicken to Japan". Eater. 
  41. ^ "Our Family Story - Panda Express Chinese Restaurant". Panda Express. Retrieved 2015-12-10. 
  42. ^ "From Fast Food To Philanthropy: Panda Express Cofounder On Donations To Caltech, Underserved Kids". forbes.com. 2018-05-01. Retrieved 2018-05-02. 

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