Top Workplaces 2022 | The Panda Restaurant Group puts people first

panda lead
Photo courtesy of Panda Restaurant Group

The Panda Restaurant Group, named one of the top workplaces in New York City, puts people first. 

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 2,200 locations worldwide and 44,000 employees. All are embraced in a genuine family environment. People are treated with respect, as the company seeks to develop “win-win” relationships with guests, business partners and communities, providing opportunities for professional and personal growth. 

Panda is committed to achieving diversity and inclusion in the workplace. It respects and appreciates its associates’ varied journeys in life, the way they wish to identify, their unique backgrounds, experiences, thoughts and ideas. Its vision is to become a world leader in people development by fostering a safe and empowering environment of inclusion and belonging, creating a workplace where opportunity and growth are not only possible, but achievable. Valuing diversity provides an opportunity to leverage differences to better serve increasingly diverse communities of guests. Panda is aware that to continue to grow, it must continue to learn, so the company is always open to new ideas. 

The health and wellbeing of guests and associates is always top priority. The company continuously invests in new health and safety measures to uphold its commitment to high operational standards. For the second consecutive year, Panda Express ranked #1 in health and safety protocols for the food and beverage industry, outperforming competitors on COVID-19 signage, compliance with protective gear, and enforcing distancing measures. 

Co-Founders, Andrew and Peggy Cherng believe that good fortune is best when shared. As a result, the company remains committed to the communities in which Panda Express operates. Panda Cares is the philanthropic arm of Panda Restaurant Group, providing food, funding, and volunteer services to underserved youth in the areas of health and education. It also supports relief efforts during times of disaster. For example, along with the generosity of its guests, Panda was able to donate life-saving personal protective equipment (PPE) to healthcare heroes, and serve meals to frontline workers who kept us safe throughout the pandemic. 

In addition, Panda Cares encourages hope and healing for children in need of medical treatment across the U.S. It funds Centers of Hope at Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, offering specially curated programs that address a child’s entire well-being, including mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual needs. These unique programs are designed to help promote healing for patients and their families as they deal with the stressful situations of undergoing medical care and treatment. In 2021, Panda donated $21 million to these hospitals, helped 7.7 million patients, and opened 10 new Centers of Hope. 

Panda Cares strives to develop future leaders by funding programs that help underserved students, offering initiatives that focus on character building, academic success, and college access. The programs support students’ emotional intelligence, leadership development, literacy and critical thinking skills, along with college counseling and scholarships. In 2021, Panda donated $29.7 million, impacting 1.9 million youth. It supported 525 Boys and Girls Clubs, and granted 1,017 scholarships. 

Its Food Donation Program has allowed Panda associates across the country to connect with the local community since 1999. The associates volunteer to prepare and serve delicious Panda Express meals. In 2021, 39,465 meals were served. 

Every penny counts when it comes to its in-store donation program. With the generosity of Panda Express guests and associates in 2021, $40 million dollars was raised. Panda Cares used these funds to invest in programs that benefit the health and educational needs of underserved youth and to assist with disaster relief efforts. 

The company’s annual golf tournament ignites the spirit of giving, too. In 2021, it raised $4 million. Panda will continue to look for ways to give back, build up, and strengthen communities.

 Dr. Peggy Cherng says, “We are here for our community, and we are stronger when we stand together.”