Top Workplaces 2023 | Panda Restaurant Group puts people first

Panda Restaurant Group Co-Founders Andrew and Peggy Cherng
Panda Restaurant Group Co-Founders Andrew and Peggy Cherng take part in a store visit.
Panda Restaurant Group

Panda Restaurant Group, named one of the top workplaces in New York City, puts people first and cares for their communities.

The family-owned business is a world leader in Asian dining experiences, and is the parent company of Panda Express, Panda Inn, and Hibachi-San. What makes it a great place to work is its purpose-driven culture that sets the foundation for continuous elevation.There are more than 2,500 locations worldwide and about 50,000 associates.

All are embraced in a genuine family environment where people are inspired to better their lives. People are treated with respect, as the company seeks to develop “win-win” relationships with guests, business partners and communities.

Panda believes that DEI helps associates become valuable contributors to their communities. In 2021, Panda created the Panda CommUnity Fund — a $10 million pledge to support immediate and sustainable solutions to support nonprofits serving BIPOC, LGBTQ+ and other marginalized groups. The fund fosters greater presentation, understanding and belonging through important advocacy, education and narrative change initiatives. To-date, the CommUnity Fund has committed over $5 million to 49 organizations, including Equal Justice Initiative, The Asian American Foundation, WomanKind, Los Angeles LGBT Center and National Latino Behavioral Health Association.

As the philanthropic arm of Panda Restaurant Group, Panda Cares provides food, funding and volunteer services to support underserved youth. Focusing on health, education and disaster relief efforts, Panda Cares fosters their core value of giving by empowering associates to fundraise in stores every day to give back to the community. Dr. Peggy Cherng says, “We are here for our community, and we are stronger when we stand together.”

One of their proudest initiatives is building Panda Cares Centers of Hope in both Boys & Girls Clubs of America and Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals across the country. These spaces support kids throughout their education journey and offer life-changing programs in hospital spaces, where patients receive services they need to heal and feel like kids again. In 2022, Panda Cares donated $22.7 million, supported 131 children’s hospitals, helped 7.5 million patients and opened 11 new Panda Cares Centers of Hope for patients and students nationwide.

Panda celebrates Lunar New Year annually in their restaurants and communities by offering teachers a free interactive curriculum called “Let’s Explore!: Lunar New Year.”

Earlier this year, Panda Cares partnered with DonorsChoose to launch a 2x donation match program to support teacher project requests dedicated to celebrating Lunar New Year. This initiative resulted in funding 25,802 total classroom projects, benefiting 9,331 schools and supporting over 4,000 teachers in adopting the Lunar New Year curriculum.

This helped teachers authentically celebrate one of the world’s largest holidays and resulted in strong connections between Panda restaurants and local schools.