On the Margin
Panda Express founders bolster investment group

Panda Express founders bolster investment group

This post is part of the On the Margin blog.

Andrew and Peggy Cherng, the founders of Panda Express, have not been afraid of investing in growth concepts.

And now, it seems, they’re intent on investing in more.

The investment arm of the Cherng Family Trust Office, or CFT, has hired investing veterans Warren Woo and Carey Do Kim to bolster the trust’s efforts.

“We are thrilled to learn from and partner with Andrew and Peggy, as we collectively refine, develop and expand CFT’s alternative investment strategies,” Woo said in a statement. “We will be very active in sourcing, underwriting and executing new investment opportunities of all types.”

The two will focus on expanding CFT’s alternative investment platform, making private equity and venture investments, along with lending to companies in various sectors, “including hospitality.”

The trust’s goal “is to build a world-class alternative investment platform, and Warren and Carey are the right people to lead this effort,” the Cherngs said in a statement.

The Cherngs have been aggressive in making investments in restaurant businesses in recent years. Their Panda Restaurant Group Inc. has invested in Just Salad, YakiYan, Ippudo and the fast-casual pizza chain Pieology.

They have also invested in Uncle Tetsu, which sells Japanese-style baked goods, and was founded in 1985. 

The Cherng Family Trust Office is located in Henderson, Nev., and Rosemead, Calif., and is charged with the administration, finances, investments and charitable initiatives of the Cherngs and their family.

The Cherngs founded Panda Express in 1983, and it has since grown into one of the largest restaurant chains in the world, with 1,900 locations.

Warren Woo is currently a managing general partner of Breakaway Capital, a private investing firm focused on direct lending. He had previously been with Moelis & Company, UBS Investment Bank and other firms.

Carey Do Kim was a managing director at Wells Fargo & Co.

Jonathan Maze, Nation's Restaurant News senior financial editor, does not directly own stock or interest in a restaurant company.

Contact Jonathan Maze at [email protected]
Follow him on Twitter: @jonathanmaze

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