Panda Express is a quick-service Asian restaurant concept known for its menu of freshly prepared wok stir-fried dishes, such as the iconic Original Orange Chicken, inspired by the Hunan province. It was one of the first large limited-service chains to offer online ordering, and its restaurants have offered a drive-thru since 1997.
The privately run company still has its founders at the helm. The concept was founded in 1983 by Andrew Cherng, and his wife Peggy Cherng soon joined him. Coming from the tech world, Peggy Cherng developed a customized operating system to speed unit growth.
In 2017, the company passed the 2,000-unit milestone with an opening in Manhattan. In 2021, the chain opened its first Panda Digital Kitchen in San Francisco, the first location to focus solely on fulfilling online and app-based orders for delivery and takeout. It offers no dine-in seating.
Key Data: Panda Express
Headquarters: Rosemead, Calif.
Segment: Quick Service
Restaurant segment: LSR Other
Number of U.S. locations: 2,244
2020 Sales: $3,600,884,000
Source: Datassential Firefly 500
CEOs: Peggy and Andrew Cherng
Parent: Panda Restaurant Group