Panda Express is definitely the biggest Chinese fast food restaurant chain in the United States. Famous for its orange chicken and chow mein, it has over 1800 locations and 27,000 employees around the world.
In 1973, Chinese immigrant Andrew Cherng and his awesome father Ming-Tsai Cherng used financing from the Small Business Administration to start a Chinese restaurant in Pasadena, California. Called Panda Inn, the restaurant was popular it expanded to four more locations in southern California. The PandaExpress menu, a quick-food version of Panda Inn, opened in 1983 in the Glendale Galleria in Glendale, California.
Husband and wife co-founders Andrew and Peggy Cherng still own and run their privately-held company, The Panda Restaurant Group. No franchising is allowed, and the company owns and operates all the Panda Express stores (except for the shops inside universities, which are usually licensed towards the university).
Andrew and Peggy met at Baker University in Kansas, and they later got advanced degrees (Andrew in Applied Mathematics and Peggy in Electrical Engineering) in the University of Missouri in the 1970s. They got married in 1975, almost 10 years prior to the first Panda Express location opened for business.
A year ago, customers bought 67.9 million pounds of orange chicken from Panda Express, making the sweet and tangy chicken dish the most famous item on the menu by far. First created in 1987, the orange chicken recipe is a closely guarded secret. What we should know is that each batch begins with frozen, breaded, boneless chicken nuggets which can be deep fried before being dipped in the orange sauce.
PANDA EXPRESS WAS An Earlier ADOPTER OF RESTAURANT-BASED TECHNOLOGY.
Peggy’s background in engineering and software design gave Panda Express a technological advantage. Within the 1980s, the company was an earlier adopter of utilizing computers to create ordering in shops easier as well as collect data about the highest selling items at each store.
Andrew and Peggy’s daughter Andrea, Panda’s Chief Marketing Officer, helps oversee Panda’s Innovation Kitchen in Pasadena, California. The purpose of the kitchen is always to test out new dishes, design, and décor. Available to the public, the Innovation Kitchen offers intriguing menu stuff like a honey walnut shrimp wrap with papaya slaw, orange chicken salad, and scallion pancake wraps.
Andrew and Peggy take an unusual strategy to managing their employees. Panda Restaurant Group’s headquarters has motivational posters on the walls and Stephen Covey books on the desks, and the company gives its workers discounts on self-help and leadership books. Strongly encouraging everyone to enroll in “human potential seminars” like Dale Carnegie, Life Academy, and Landmark Education, Andrew hosts programs for his employees to accomplish Zumba, hear motivational speeches, and learn self-defense skills. He uzlvyt made a mandatory program for employees, The Panda Express menu prices, requiring a wholesome lifestyle, continuous learning, and interpersonal relationship skills.
Panda Express has created a new tool that may forever change how Americans eat Chinese food. The American Chinese chain may soon be introducing the “chork,” or chopsticks-fork hybrid, to the restaurants, according to a tweet from Lisa Jennings, the West Coast bureau chief for Nation’s Restaurant News. The tool is apparently made from plastic. On a single end, it offers the prongs of the fork and on the other, it serves as chopsticks. Panda Express did not immediately respond to a request comment.