From their world-famous orange chicken to their health-minded wok smart selections, Panda Express has defined the American Chinese cuisine. In 25 years, Panda Express has transformed from a single restaurant in southern California to a 2,000-location empire around the world.
It’s all about Family, Food, and Community at Panda Express.
The story of Panda Express began in 1983 when Andrew Cherng opened the very first restaurant at the Glendale Galleria in Glendale, CA. Alongside was his wife, Peggy Cherng who was the one who customized the operating systems to assure the quality of the food and service. A few years later, Panda’s best selling dish, Orange Chicken (with over 90 million pounds of chicken sold each year) was developed by Chef Andy Kao. Ever since the opening of their first location, they have always been dedicated to becoming a world leader in people development through sharing good food with guests or providing opportunities for professional and personal growth with associates.
Expansion, expansion, expansion.
Throughout the years, Panda Express was having many firsts. First restaurant opening in an airport, first drive-thru, first stadium location, first theme park location, and their first international restaurant in Mexico City, MX followed by Guam, Puerto Rico, Canada, South Korea and Dubai! With all of their success and love for their food, they were able to open their 1,000th location in Pasadena, CA in 2007 and achieved their $1 billion achievement in revenue that same year!
Moreover, in 1999, Panda Cares was established which is their philanthropic arm that is dedicated to providing food, funding, and volunteer services to underserved children and disaster relief efforts. They have partnered with many organizations and programs like the Indian Ocean Tsunami relief, Hurricane Katrina, Children’s Miracle Network, China’s Earthquake relief, Haiti, and the Special Olympics World Games just to name a few. Panda Cares is powered by their 25,000 associates in over 2,000 stores nationwide.
“Panda Cares is honored and humbled to do their part to positively impact the lives of underserved children. They are committed to ensuring that future generations achieve their highest possibilities.”
Winnie Chan, Director of Panda Cares
The Cherngs Own and Operate each Panda Express Themselves
To this day, Andrew and Peggy Cherng own and operate virtually every Panda Express location themselves as they don’t franchise them out to other owners, making Panda Express a rarity among restaurant chains of its size. Forbes has reported that the Cherngs have a combined net worth of $3.3 billion.