Industry Leaders Create Strategic Partnership Established on Shared Values and Future Growth
Panda Express, the world’s largest American Chinese dining concept, is now serving beverages from The Coca‑Cola Company’s portfolio of sparkling soft drinks, teas and waters in its more than 2,000 restaurants across the country.
Panda signed a multi-year agreement with Coca‑Cola in late 2018. In the months that followed, the partners completed one of the fastest in-store beverage transitions in Coke’s history. A variety of Coca‑Cola products, including Coca‑Cola, Diet Coke, Coke Zero Sugar, Sprite and Fanta Orange fountain options, as well as Dasani Sparkling and Honest Tea bottled beverages are available at Panda Express, Panda Inn and Hibachi San locations.
Since the first Panda Inn restaurant opened in 1973, Panda has set out to deliver exceptional dining experiences through a people-first mentality, focusing on its guests, employees and the community.
“As a family-owned and operated company, the relationships we create at Panda Restaurant Group are essential to the exceptional operating culture we have always been known for,” said Dr. Peggy Cherng, co-founder and co-CEO, Panda Restaurant Group. “Coca‑Cola’s remarkable accomplishments as a brand and internally as a company motivate us to reach for our greatest potential and are bringing invaluable new ideas that will please our guests for years to come.”
The Coca‑Cola Company’s seasoned foodservice presence, industry expertise and commitment to innovation will power Panda’s global growth strategy. And its broad beverage portfolio complements the staple American Chinese cuisine offered at Panda Express and Panda Inn.
“Panda Restaurant Group is an exciting addition to the Coca‑Cola family,” said Kathleen Ciaramello, president, Coca‑Cola North America Foodservice and On-Premise. “They are a company committed to excellence and value, focused on bringing positive change to this world. This partnership is not only a strong collaboration within the food and beverage industry but also showcases how two brands uniting through collective values can create positive momentum for everyone involved.”
Founders Andrew Cherng and Master Chef Ming-Tsai Cherng opened the first Panda Inn in Pasadena, Calif. in 1973 with a menu inspired by the flavors of Mandarin and Sichuan cuisine. A decade later, the first Panda Express opened in Glendale, Calif. At first, Panda Express restaurants were found solely in food courts in major shopping malls. During the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Cherngs began experimenting with supermarket-based branches, through a deal with Vons, before expanding to standalone restaurant locations in 1997. Today, Panda includes locations with drive-thrus, in colleges, sports stadiums and airports, with less than 2% of its restaurants in malls.