Panda Express logo

Panda Express is a fast casual restaurant chain, serving American Chinese cuisine. It operates mainly inside the United States, in casinos, shopping malls, toll plazas, supermarkets, airports, train stations, strip plazas, theme parks, stadiums, college campuses, and The Pentagon. It is the largest chain of Chinese fast food restaurants in the United States.


The Panda Restaurant Group was founded by Andrew and Peggy Cherng and Andrew's father Master Chef Ming Tsai Cherng, all of whom used to live in the Yangzhou region of China's Jiangsu province.[1] In 1973, they started their first Panda Inn restaurant in Pasadena, California.

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 born.[2] The chain has steadily expanded across the USA since then.

In 2007, the Panda Restaurant Group had annual sales of over $1 billion and over 13,000 employees.[3]

In 2008, Andrew and Peggy Cherng were the recipients of the 2008 City of Angels Award, given by the LAX Coastal Area Chamber of Commerce,[4] for their contributions to the greater Los Angeles area.[5]

Andrew and Peggy Cherng are alumni of Baker University in Baldwin City, Kansas.[6] Peggy also got her B.S. degree in applied mathematics from Oregon State University in 1971, and her M.S. in computer science and doctoral degree in electrical engineering from the University of Missouri-Columbia.[7] Andrew also got his M.S. in mathematics from the University of Missouri.[8]

On November 23, 2009, it was announced that Panda Express had selected Trusonic to provide Asian-themed background music to its store locations.[9]

On the ABC News TV program Nightline on 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 various life-changing motivational programs, especially emphasizing Landmark Education.[10]


With approximately 1,372[11] locations, Panda Express is the largest Chinese fast food restaurant chain in the USA. Andrew Cherng feels that Panda Express food needs more care and concern than other fast food restaurants. Panda Express tries to pay employees $1-2 more per hour than other nearby fast-food restaurants to get employees to put the extra care and concern into the food.[12]

The company's highest revenue location, bringing in over US$4 million annually, is located at the Ala Moana Center food court in Honolulu, Hawaii.[13]

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