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Coinciding with this milestone anniversary is the release of a new signature menu item, Beijing Beef.
“When I opened the first Panda Express I hoped the restaurant would be a success, but had no way of anticipating that it would be the start of such tremendous growth,” says founder and chairman Andrew Cherng. “During these tough economic times, we are very fortunate to now be in our 12th consecutive year of same-store sales growth with continued restaurant expansion and over $1.2 billion dollars in sales.”
The first Panda Express opened Oct. 31, 1983, at the Glendale Galleria in Glendale, California, following 10 years of success with Panda Restaurant Group’s first concept, Panda Inn, a fine dining establishment that has six Southern California locations and is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year. At the suggestion of the developer of the Glendale Galleria, the Panda Express concept was born, now with close to 1,200 locations in 36 states, Puerto Rico and Japan.
Most recently, Panda Express has launched two new prototype stores in the cities of Azusa and Norwalk designed to enhance the sensory experience for guests. Food preparation and presentation are highlighted to showcase the high-quality ingredients and culinary expertise of the chefs. The sensory dining experience is further enhanced by newly remodeled dining areas, with a rich color palette, contemporary Chinese music, and educational video displays. “Our associates are the best in the business and they are always coming up with innovations designed to improve the Panda Express experience for guests,” says Panda Express Co-chair Peggy Cherng, Ph.D. “As our number of locations grows, we are hard at work developing our people, new entrées, new aesthetics and new ways to create an even more exciting dining experience. Because almost all of our locations are company owned, we are able to ensure a consistently high level of service and quality at every restaurant.”