The United States of America are known to be a melting pot of many nationalities from all over the world, even in the world of fast food, a large variety of different nationalities offers their culinary highlights – one of them is the American Chinese cuisine.
In 1983, Panda Express was founded in Glendale, California by Andrew Cherng and his wife, Peggy Cherng. During its existence over the past three decades, the chain has taken over the market of Chinese fast food restaurants in the United States. More than 1,800 branches in the U.S. and worldwide make this restaurant the leading Chinese fast food company within America. In 2011, Panda Express opened their first restaurant abroad, in Mexico City. In 2013 and 2014, two further branches opened their doors in Kanada and the United Arab Emirates. The headquarters is located in Rosemead, California but of course there are many more Panda Express-restaurants across the United States. In 1993, the fast food comapny had their 10-year-anniversary and opened their 100th restaurant on the UCLA campus in Los Angeles.
Panda Express is a fast food-version of the proper restaurant Panda Inn, that had initially been founded in 1973 by Andrew and Peggy Cherng and Andrew’s father, Ming Tsai Cherng. During the first few years of Panda Express‘ existence, their restaurants could only be found in malls, supermarkets, casinos, airports and universities. In 1997, the company opened its first free-standing Panda Express-restaurant with a drive-thru in Oakland, California and today, there are more free-standing restaurants than integrated restaurants in malls, etc. By the way, the restaurant opened in Oakland in 1997 was the first drive-thru-restaurant Panda Express opened!
Panda Express was one of the first fast food-companies to use computers for orders and collecting data about their highest selling items.
Another interesting fact about Panda Express is that – compared to many other fast food chains – there is no franchising but it’s always been a family-run business. The founders‘ daughter, Andrea Cherng, Chief Marketing Officer, constantly comes up with new ideas and strategies to attract and satisfy their customers.
Panda offers a large variety of food so there’s something for everyone’s taste – from typical Chinese meals with noodles or rice over fresh salads and wraps to a great amount of different teas. On top of this, you can create your own meal with individual ingredients, isn’t that great? The most famous dish at Panda Express is their popular „Orange Chicken“. The top secret recipe for this delicious dish was created in 1987 by Andy Kao (Panda Express chef). Panda Express also does not forget about the little ones and offers the Panda Kids meal containing smaller-size portions, a drink and a cookie.
Another great fact about Panda Express is that the company attaches great importance to sustainability. The company only uses compostable packaging, does oil recycling and only puts their restaurants in energy efficient buildings.
Charity work is very important for Americans and most companies get involved in volunteering whenever and whereever they can. „Panda Cares“ is a voluntary initiative to help children in need and was established in 1999. A considerable number of 27,000 Panda Express-employees in more than 1,800 restaurants in 46 states are helping either by volunteering or with donations. So far, Panda Care has donated a considerable amount of approximately 48.5 million US-dollars to support underserved children and disaster relief efforts. In every Panda Express-restaurant, you can find collection boxes so that customers can make donations. This way, Panda Cares has raised and donated over 20 million US-dollars and invested this money into local hopsitals, schools and disaster relief efforts.
Panda Express does not only have one but even two mascots! What types of mascots they are – that’s not hard to guess: Eddie and Tom-Tom – two cute little panda bears – represent the company.
If you want to explore the U.S. on a culinary level and experience two cultures meeting and melting, sign up now for the Green Card Lottery and win your ticket to the land of unlimited opportunities.
Official Name: Panda Express
Official Website: www.pandaexpress.com
Founder: Peggy Chemg, Andrew Chemg
First Store: Glendale, California
Bestseller: Orange Flavored Chicken, Chow Mein, Kung Pao
Slogans: „Gourmet Chinese Food“, „ Chinese for: Yummy“