Panda Express

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Panda Express
Company typeSubsidiary
IndustryFood service
GenreAmerican Chinese cuisine
FoundedOctober 1983; 40 years ago (1983-10)
In Glendale, California, United States
1683 Walnut Grove Avenue, Rosemead, California, U.S.[1]
Number of locations
2,200 (2019)
Area served
United States (also Puerto Rico & Guam), Mexico, Canada, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, United Arab Emirates, Japan, Guatemala, El Salvador, Aruba, Philippines, Germany, Indonesia
ProductsAmerican Chinese cuisine
Revenue3 billion (2017)[2][failed verification]
Number of employees
39,000 (2018)[3][failed verification]
ParentPanda Restaurant Group

Panda Express (Chinese: 熊貓快餐) is an American fast food restaurant chain that specializes in American Chinese cuisine. With over 2,200 locations,[4] it is the largest Asian-segment restaurant chain in the United States,[5][6] where it was founded, and is mainly located in North America and Asia (in addition to other countries and territories).[7] 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.

The chain offers a variety of American-Chinese dishes, including orange chicken, sweet fire chicken breast, Beijing beef, grilled teriyaki chicken, and Kung Pao chicken, with certain premium dishes such as honey walnut shrimp and black pepper Angus steak having additional costs for the patron. The company is headquartered in Rosemead, California.[8] The Panda Express brand is a casual, fast-food variation of corporate sibling Panda Inn, which is a chain of upscale, table service restaurants.[6]


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
A typical Panda Express meal: Kung Pao chicken, orange chicken, chow mein and steamed vegetables
A typical Panda Express, 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 Chinese born, 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 and 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 campuses, 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 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.[23]

In 2011, a suit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against Panda Express because it was reportedly treating its Hispanic employees differently than Asian employees.[24] In June 2013, it was announced that the restaurant chain will pay $150,000 to settle another EEOC 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] In addition to the fines, Panda Express revised its policies and was required to provide anti-discrimination and sexual harassment training for employees.

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 2017, the Panda Restaurant Group had annual sales of over $3 billion and close to 39,000 employees.[28] The Cherngs also opened Panda Innovation Kitchen in Pasadena with their daughter, Andrea 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.[29]

In December 2017, Panda Express had opened the chain's 2,000th location, which is located in New York City near Columbia University.[30]

In February of 2022, Panda Restaurant Group filed a U.S. trademark application for the name PANDAVERSE for “downloadable virtual goods, namely, food items and beverages for use in virtual worlds" and "virtual food and beverage products.” The filing marked an intention to expand the Panda Express brand into the Metaverse.[31]


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

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

The first location in South Korea was opened in Seoul in September 2014 as a joint venture with Seoul-based SF Innovation Co.[37]

In July 2016, Panda Express opened its first location in Guatemala, in Guatemala City.[38]

In September 2017, Panda Express opened its first location on the Dutch Caribbean country of Aruba at the Queen Beatrix International Airport.[39]

Although it's unknown when Panda Express had opened its first restaurant in Saudi Arabia, a second Panda Express in Saudi Arabia opened in Riyadh in January 2018.[40] Both Saudi Arabian restaurants, as well as the ones in United Arab Emirates are operated by Gourmet Gulf.[41]

In July 2018, Panda Express entered El Salvador for the first time by opening two locations in the capital city of San Salvador.[42]

A mall food court Panda Express at the SM City Pampanga
Drive-through sign

In September 2018, Panda Express announced its joint venture with Jollibee Foods Corporation to bring its stores in the Philippines.[43] A year later, in December 2019, the first Panda Express restaurant in the Philippines opened at SM Megamall in Mandaluyong.[44] More branches were opened, all located in the Greater Manila Area.[45][46]

The first Panda Express in Russia opened in Moscow in September 2018.[47] However, in March 2022, Panda Express has ceased all corporate support, including operations, marketing, and supply chain in response to the Russian war against Ukraine.[48][49]

Panda Express previously had eight sites 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 restaurant in Kawasaki.[50] This restaurant is operated as part of a joint partnership with Ippudo.[51] As of August 2022, were nine restaurants in the country.[52]

In October 2020, the South China Morning Post reported that a fake Panda Express restaurant in the southwestern Chinese city of Kunming had been reported for trademark infringement, and was closed during an investigation.[53] The reportedly fake restaurant used the same Panda Express logo, and its menu reportedly included the same Kung Pao Chicken and Tangerine Peel Chicken as the company's restaurants.[54]

In August 2022, Panda Express opened its first European site in Kaiserslautern Military Community Center food court, Ramstein Air Base, Germany.[55]


In 1999, 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.[56] 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.[57]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "About Us". Panda Restaurant Group. Archived from the original on July 25, 2012.
  2. ^ "The Tao Of Panda - Panda Express Chinese Restaurant". Panda Express. Archived from the original on August 2, 2012.
  3. ^ "The Tao Of Panda - Panda Express Chinese Restaurant". Archived from the original on August 2, 2012.
  4. ^ "Panda Express Will Give Away Red Envelopes for Chinese New Year".
  5. ^ Oches, Sam (July 29, 2013). "The QSR 50 Asian Segment". QSR magazine. Retrieved May 21, 2016.
  6. ^ a b Hannon, Kerry (March 22, 2018). "For Panda Express Owners, It's About Family (Published 2018)". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved March 4, 2021.
  7. ^ Bartiromo, Maria (November 2007). "Positive Thinkers". Reader's Digest. Archived from the original on December 5, 2007.
  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 (February 5, 2013). "How Panda Express brings Chinese food to the mall". Fortune. Retrieved June 28, 2015.
  11. ^ a b c d Greenfeld, Karl Taro (November 18, 2010). "General Tso, Meet Steven Covey". Bloomberg BusinessWeek. Bloomberg, L.P. Retrieved June 28, 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 December 10, 2015.
  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. ^ del Barco, Mandalit (October 30, 2017). "Orange Chicken, Panda Express' Gift To American Chinese Food, Turns 30". All Things Considered. NPR.
  17. ^ Bruce, Haring (August 9, 2004). "Panda gains higher visibility for chain amid shift from malls, food courts". Nation's Restaurant News. p. 6. Archived from the original on August 21, 2016.
  18. ^ Taylor, Kate (March 9, 2017). "DEATH OF THE FOOD COURT: Iconic mall chains like Cinnabon, Sbarro, and Panda Express are transforming to survive". Business Insider. Retrieved March 10, 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. Archived from the original on October 24, 2007. Retrieved January 17, 2007.
  23. ^ 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.
  24. ^ E.E.O.C. "Panda Express Sued By EEOC For National Origin Bias". U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Retrieved March 25, 2020.
  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. Archived from the original on August 7, 2016. Retrieved August 5, 2016.
  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. ^ a b Hua, Vanessa (June 8, 2015). "How Panda Express Grew From Family Business to Global Empire". NBC News. Retrieved December 10, 2015.
  30. ^ 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).
  31. ^ "The Trend of "Verse" Trademark Applications for the Metaverse". Retrieved February 23, 2022.
  32. ^ Smith, Kevin (September 8, 2011). "Panda Express expands with new location in Mexico City". San Gabriel Valley Tribune.
  33. ^ "Panda Express". Panda Express. Retrieved March 11, 2019.
  34. ^ William-Ross, Lindsay (October 28, 2016). "Panda Express opens first Calgary location". Daily Hive.
  35. ^ Sambidge, Andy (May 26, 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. ^ "Panda Express opens in Seoul". Korea Herald. September 5, 2014.
  38. ^ "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.
  39. ^ "Great news! Panda Express and Fresh II are now open to serve you at gates 4/5!". Queen Beatrix International Airport. September 29, 2017. Archived from the original on February 26, 2022 – via Facebook.
  40. ^ Jabeen, Afifa (January 26, 2018). "Panda Express opens 2nd Saudi restaurant in Riyadh". Arab News.
  41. ^ "Panda Express opens its 2nd restaurant in Riyadh". Saudi Gazette. January 21, 2018.
  42. ^ 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).
  43. ^ Lopez, Elyssa Christine (September 27, 2018). "Jollibee Foods to Bring America's Panda Express to PH". Entrepreneur Philippines. Retrieved December 24, 2018.
  44. ^ "Panda Express Philippines opens on Dec. 12". ABS-CBN News. December 2, 2019.
  45. ^ "Panda Express Locations". Retrieved June 15, 2023.
  46. ^ Faicol, Bea (May 2, 2023). "Here's Where Panda Express Is Opening Its Second Drive-Thru in The Philippines". Retrieved June 15, 2023.
  47. ^ "Открытия недели: Panda Express, китайский ресторан в "Азимуте" и Burger & Pizzetta" [Opening this week: Panda Express, a Chinese restaurant in Azimuth and Burger & Pizzetta]. The Village (Moscow) (in Russian). September 7, 2018.
  48. ^ "Panda Express latest QSR ceasing Russian support". March 10, 2022. Retrieved January 22, 2023.
  49. ^ "How US restaurant chains are responding in Russia". Restaurant Dive. Retrieved January 22, 2023.
  50. ^ Kotaki, Shiori (November 28, 2016). "We checked out Panda Express Kawasaki (so you don't have to)". Time Out Tokyo.
  51. ^ Hatic, Dana (September 30, 2016). "Panda Express Is Taking Its Orange Chicken to Japan". Eater.
  52. ^ "Panda Express Locations".
  53. ^ "US' Panda Express says it's black and white: eaterie bearing resemblance in China is fake". The NY Times. October 22, 2020. Retrieved October 22, 2020.
  54. ^ "Largest US Chinese Restaurant Chain Panda Express Enters China". Retrieved October 16, 2020.
  55. ^ "Ramstein Air Base: Lagardère launches Panda Express in Europe". Retrieved May 21, 2023.
  56. ^ "Our Family Story - Panda Express Chinese Restaurant". Panda Express. Retrieved December 10, 2015.
  57. ^ "From Fast Food To Philanthropy: Panda Express Cofounder On Donations To Caltech, Underserved Kids". May 1, 2018. Retrieved May 2, 2018.

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