The owners of Panda Express are all highly educated. Cheng Zhengchang is a doctor of mathematics, and Jiang Peiqi is a doctor of electronic engineering.
Do you know? The world’s largest Chinese fast-food chain brand is not China but the United States Panda Express.
At first, when I heard that I was bragging about myself in the United States, I still disdained it. Think more than Shaxian snacks? But I didn’t expect that I was too proud.
After a detailed chat, I learned that this Chinese fast-food chain brand in the United States has become the most prominent Chinese fast-food chain brand.
It has more than 2,000 restaurants, more than 23,000 employees and makes an annual profit of $10 billion! And now, almost every week, there are three new stores open, far faster than the local fast-food giant burger king! Are you surprised?
- How can a Chinese restaurant make $13.8 billion a year in the United States?
- What’s the popular Chinese menu in the American fast food industry?
- What’s the experience of dining in Panda Express?
How Can A Chinese Restaurant Make $13.8 Billion A Year In The United States
Panda Express is originally a family business project, but different from other restaurants, the owners of Panda Express are all highly educated. Cheng Zhengchang, the husband, is a doctor of mathematics, and Jiang Peiqi, the wife, is a doctor of electronic engineering. What’s more, Cheng’s father was Chiang Kai Shek’s cook.
- In 1973, to make the father realize his ideal as soon as possible, the son inherits the father’s career. As soon as Cheng Zhengchang, who had just got his master’s degree in mathematics, heard that a local restaurant would close down, he immediately advised his father to open a restaurant called Jufengyuan restaurant. He worked as a manager, while his mother and father worked as chefs.
- In 1983, after ten years of development and repeated polishing, the reputation of Jufengyuan became better and better in the United States. Cheng Zhengchang pointed to Chinese fast-food restaurants and opened Panda Express. I didn’t expect it would be even worse.
- In 1985, Panda Express grew to nine Panda Express stores.
- In 1997, it reached 254 with a US $178 million revenue.
- In 2010, panda ranked among US $1 billion enterprises with the US $1.069 billion sales.
- In 2011, Cheng Zhengchang decided to enter the international market and opened the first Panda Express in Mexico. Then it expanded to Canada, Dubai, South Korea, Puerto Rico, and Japan. Now it has more than 2,000 stores worldwide, earning more than $13.8 billion a year.
How can a Chinese restaurant make $13.8 billion a year in the United States? Just look at that popular Chinese menu in the American fast-food industry. From the beginning, Cheng Zhengchang did not follow the old way of cooking for Chinese’ in most Chinese restaurants in the Chinese area.
“After all, there are very few Chinese people. If you want to make a lot of money, you have to cater to the taste of Americans.
Cheng Zhengchang said he aimed at Americans early on, which laid a profound foundation. Yes, since 1973, Cheng Zhengchang has always been an American business, and the localization strategy of Panda Express is more in-depth.
Cheng Zhengchang asked Panda Express to stick to traditional Chinese cooking. But in the seasoning stage, they have been studying American taste, “Americans like sweet and sour taste with a little spicy!” Cheng Zhengchang said, “they prefer sweet and sour, slightly spicy, so we’ll do it.”.
As a result, their Orange Chicken’ and Kung Pao Chicken have been flourishing for decades, making the whole world know a Chinese dish called Kung Pao Chicken.
The Popular Chinese Menu In The American Fast-Food Industry
So I care about whether American Chinese food is good or not! So what I want to dig deep is its menu.
Panda Express Orange Chicken
Speaking of Panda Express, the first thing to say is its signature dish, Orange Chicken. Its status in the hearts of Americans is on a par with that of General Tso’s Chicken and Li Hongzhang Chop Suey.
Li Hongzhang Chop Suey
Li Hongzhang Chop Suey’s miscellaneous food has been popular in the United States for more than 100 years. If the information is correct, it should be the first American Chinese food in American history. Wang Chin foo, a 19th century Chinese American social activist, lists the classic menu of fried miscellaneous food, including bean sprouts, chicken gizzards, chicken liver, and beef tripe.
But there is another legend. In 1896, when Li Hongzhang was in the United States, he went to a local Chinese restaurant for dinner. Some local Americans inquired about Li Hongzhang food. Still, the Chinese restaurant owner was hard to answer, so he said it was Chop Suey. So Li Hongzhang Chop Suey became famous. The way to do it is to fry the leftovers in the fridge over high heat, cover them with fried eggs and a bowl of Li Hongzhang Chop Suey.
General Tso’s Chicken
Let’s talk about General Tso’s Chicken briefly. It was created by Peng Changgui, who studied with famous chef Cao Panchen, for Jiang Jingguo, who stayed up late one night in the 1970s. It was supposed to be General Tso’s Chicken’s favorite, so it was named ‘General Tso’s Chicken.’
In 1973, Peng Changgui went to the United States for development and opened Peng Yuan Restaurant in Manhattan East 44th street, New York. I.M. Pei, a famous architect, invited former US Secretary of state Kissinger to PENGYUAN for dinner.
Unexpectedly, ‘General Tso’s Chicken” became Kissinger’s favorite and quickly became popular in the United States. This dish appeared in Ang Lee’s films ‘Push Hand’ and ‘Wedding Banquet.’ It is not too much to say that it is the mainstay of American Chinese food.
The authentic General Tso’s Chicken is mainly made from the chicken leg. After boneless, it is pickled with soy sauce and Taibai powder. Then it is deep-fried until it is dry outside and tenders inside. Then stir fry the lower leg meat with onion paste, ginger paste, garlic paste, soy sauce, vinegar, dried pepper, and other seasonings.
So you have to say that this is ‘Pineapple Gulu Chicken,’ I don’t have much opinion, although they also carefully replaced pineapple with yellow pepper.
Later, with the most famous comedy ‘Big Bang’ broadcast, General Tso’s Chicken fire again. The protagonist Sheldon’s seven-day diet is very fixed in the seven-season plot. He has a particular preference for Chinese food. General Tso’s Chicken and Orange Chicken are his favorite.
He even suspected that there was something wrong with the materials of tangerine peel in Sichuan restaurants, so he especially learned Chinese.
It’s not easy to make Sheldon such a fussy dish. It is understood that since Panda Express launched this Orange Chicken in 1987, it immediately ignited the taste buds of Americans. The sales once accounted for more than 30% of the revenue of the Panda Express store.
How delicious is the Orange Chicken? How magical is it? Maybe you need to know how it works first. Its official website is crisp chicken wok-tossed in a sweet and spicy orange sauce. It sounds like General Tso’s Chicken, but it should be more adorable.
Panda Express Kung Pao Chicken
In Panda Express, it is estimated that this Kung Pao chicken is the only one compared with Orange Chicken. This Kung Pao Chicken is unbeatable in the United States. In the 11th episode of Friends, Chandler’s sexy mother said in an interview on TV, ‘I like to eat Kung Pao Chicken.’
In the Big Bang, Sheldon ran away from home because Lenard changed the Kung Pao Chicken without permission; Daniel said, ‘is this Kung Pao Chicken?’
Its practice on the official website states that it is, A Szechwan-inspired dish with chicken, peanuts, and vegetables, finished with chili peppers.
Panda Express Broccoli Beef
After looking at so many menus in Panda Express, one, I might find delicious is indeed broccoli beef. Its practice will make you sincerely feel that ‘it’s so easy to cook for Americans.’. A classic favorite. Tender bee and fresh broccoli in a ginger soy sauce. And this is not with food, oh, fully meeting Americans’ needs, feel healthy.
Panda Express Shanghai Angus Steak
Another famous steak, maybe this Shanghai Angus steak. I don’t know why it is called ‘Shanghai.’ I did ask Shanghai people, and they said they didn’t know. But it’s a complicated meal: Angus steak wok-seared with fresh string beans or asparagus, onions, and mushrooms in a savory sauce. As for the taste, mint steak with rice.
Panda Express Five Flavor Shrimp
This is very common on the table of Panda Express. It can be paired with any dish. However, we still need to look at its practice first.
Five Flavor Shrimp combines five quality ingredients to create one flavorful dish featuring significant premium marinated shrimp.
Panda chefs wok-toss it to perfection in a Chinese-inspired sauce to balance sweet, sour, bitter, salty, and umami notes in one single bite.
Panda Express Beijing Beef
But after reading the Panda Express menu, you’ll find that it’s just a group of chickens. In addition to the Orange Chicken and Kung Pao Chicken, String Bean Chicken, Sweetfire Chicken Breast, Mushroom Chicken, Black Pepper Chicken, Grilled Teriyaki Chicken, and Chicken Potsticker. You can imagine how cheap chicken is in the United States! And creativity is everywhere.
What’s The Experience Of Dining In Panda Express
But what I didn’t expect was that I wanted to try Panda Express after talking for a long time. Let’s talk about the experience of dining in Panda Express.
First of all, as you can see from the above, eating Panda Express in American movies and TV series is just like eating Mcdonald’s. You may also find the problem, eating Chinese food with chopsticks, right?
Can Americans use chopsticks? With the popularity of Chinese food and Southeast Asian food, Americans now more or less use chopsticks.
However, in the early days of the establishment of Panda Express, they did not know how to use chopsticks, so for this reason, Panda Express deliberately and thoughtfully reinvented chopsticks.
Some people ridicule that it may refer to the ‘Longinus gun,’ the weapon in the Japanese animation ‘new century evangelical warrior.’ But in any case, these ‘chopsticks’ for Americans, very convenient to solve the ‘difficult to eat Chinese food’ problem. Eating with a ‘Longinus gun’ in an American Chinese restaurant should also be sour.
Also, Panda Express is like the university canteen in China in the idea of ‘transforming food’ and as the university canteen in the ordering mode. Do the dishes well first, and the waiter will scoop them for you after ordering. In a word, Panda Express is the first restaurant in the United States to use its open shelf display.
Unlike the university canteen, in Panda Express, the cook will put the fried dishes into a one-foot square plate and put them on the front desk for heat preservation. However, to ensure the freshness of the dishes, the quantity of each plate is not significant, and then stir fry them after they are sold.
However, if a dish is not sold after 4 minutes, it must be thrown away to ensure quality.
It is worth mentioning that his wife, Jiang Peiqi, has dramatically reduced the number of dishes to about 20 with the help of her professional expertise. The information management system is also introduced into the restaurant.
The catering management system software developed by the restaurant can make ordering simple, and the stores can share information. Besides, it can also automatically track inventory, purchase food materials, control assets, and waste kitchen waste.
Moreover, as an American Chinese fast-food brand, Panda Express has also gone through the muddy water of O2O. Just like eating KFC McDonald’s in China, ‘get your favorites even faster.
Panda Express has also started the takeout service, providing the takeout service of the physical store Panda Express for diners.
So that diners can enjoy delicious food at any time. Of course, it can also help you find the nearby Panda Express store, which makes it more convenient for you to eat at home.
And there’s a free entree event on the Panda Express survey. As long as you answer a few questions on the Internet with your last meal receipt, you can get a Panda Express free entree item.
Panda Express Gift Card
At the same time, Panda Express has also launched the gift card with the development of the times. Relatives, friends, colleagues, and classmates can freely give each other. Like Starbucks’s star card, it will also launch the special edition of the festival on New Year’s Day.
As a surprise at the end, I would like to talk about the fortune cookie in the eyes of Americans. But it’s true that Panda Express’s fortune cookie also holds the surprise position here. Panda Express will especially give guests fortune cookies; everyone’s is different, let the diner’s good mood ferment again.
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