While you may recognize Panda Express from their seemingly ubiquitous presence in mall food courts, there are actually so many interesting things about Panda Express. And no, they don’t all have to do with orange chicken — but come on, a list of Panda Express facts wouldn’t be complete without at least a few mentions of that sweet, sticky dish.
Founded in 1982 by Andrew and Peggy Cherng, Panda Express is still family-owned and operated, despite now having over 1,500 restaurants. There are no franchises, and it’s still a privately held company. The company also donates millions to charity every year through its Panda Cares initiative. So enjoy these Panda Express statistics and facts, and see how long you can go before dashing out to satisfy your sudden, irresistible craving for America’s first fast-casual Chinese food chain.
Panda Express Invented Orange Chicken
Yep, that’s right. Panda didn’t just perfect orange chicken, they invented it. Executive chef Andy Kao devised the recipe for the now-classic Chinese-American staple.
Panda's Test Kitchen Is Open to the Public
Can’t get enough Panda Express? Then you should take a trip to Pasadena, CA, where Panda’s Innovation Kitchen offers up experimental menu items including quesadillas, burritos, ramen, and tea.
Over 60 Million Pounds of Orange Chicken Were Sold in 2011
No, seriously. Sixty. Million. Pounds.
They're Trying to Incorporate More Classic Chinese Dishes (Like Meatballs)
Panda Express is known for specific kinds of American-Chinese dishes that are actually a pretty far cry from Chinese cuisine. But they’re trying to change that: for the past year, chefs at Panda have been working on making a classic Chinese-style meatball.