The founders of the Chinese fast-food chain, Panda Express, built a $3 billion empire by being active in their communities and putting people first.
Panda Express was first opened in 1983 by Peggy and Andrew Cherng in a Los Angeles mall. And since then, the brand has grown significantly, with over 2,000 locations today. The Cherngs serve as co-CEOs of the parent company of Panda Express, Panda Restaurant Group (PRG).
In an interview with Business Insider, Peggy emphasized the importance of philanthropy within PRG. The Cherngs built the foundation of their business based on their core values as a family — gratitude, generosity and kindness.
“As a first-generation Chinese immigrant, I’ve been able to achieve the American dream and feel an obligation to pay it forward to the generations after me,” said Andrew Cherng.
These values have been intertwined into all aspects of their business since day one. At each Panda Express location there is a small box labeled “Panda Cares” next to the cash registers. This box is used to encourage diners and staffers to donate to the company’s charitable arm. The Cherngs credit a lot of their success to these efforts.
The money donated in the boxes goes to a variety of charities including the Boys and Girls Club, Centers of Hope, United Negro College Fund and Coronavirus relief efforts. Panda Cares has raised over $212 million towards health and education needs for youth in underserved areas.
“I think the power is in giving. Panda Cares is not only a way to serve the community but a way to inspire our associates in the value of giving. We inspire our associates to give from their hearts rather than out of any obligation they feel, and we empower them to volunteer their time to serve the community as much as they can,” said Andrew Cherng.
When people feel empowered by their work, it shows. The Cherngs strive to lead by example and encourage their employees to show gratitude by giving back and being vulnerable as individuals. This creates a positive work environment centered around human connection and leaves a lasting impact within the people and the place.
At SREG, our company is built upon its culture and values. Similarly to the Cherngs, we believe in the power of the people at our company. Inspiring our team members to lead, be passionate about their work and show kindness everyday are just some of the ways we have redefined the industry and created a positive environment at our company.
About Panda Express
Panda Express, America’s favorite Chinese kitchen, is best known for its wide variety of original recipes including its Original Orange Chicken®, SweetFire Chicken Breast®, award-winning Honey Walnut Shrimp™ and Shanghai Angus Steak™. Founded in 1983 and now with more than 2,100 locations throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico, Guam, Guatemala, El Salvador, Aruba, Canada, Mexico, Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Korea, Japan, and Russia, Panda Express is part of the family-owned and operated Panda Restaurant Group, the world leader in Asian dining experiences that also includes Panda Inn and Hibachi-San. For more information, visit pandaexpress.com, or follow them on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.