Andrew Cherng is none other but the founder and chairman of Panda Restaurant Group in Rosemead, California. This Chinese-born American billionaire is also the CEO of Panda Express.
Cherng was born in April 1948 in Yangzhou, Jiangsu Province, Republic of China. His father was also a chef. At 18 years of age, he immigrated to the United States in 1966 to begin his academics at an American university. After acquiring a bachelor’s degree from Baker University in Baldwin City, Kansas in 1970, he went on to pursue his MBA in 1972 from the University of Missouri in applied mathematics.
After having moved to Los Angeles in 1972, Andrew helped his cousin to run Ting Ho restaurant. After a few months in the same year, he took over another restaurant in Pasadena. Slowly and gradually, his knowledge about restaurants and interest in food business got infused inside him.
In 1973 June, along with Andrew’s father Ming Tsai Cherng, he took over and started a new Chinese restaurant in Pasadena, California on Foothill Boulevard called Panda Inn. He used his family funds and took a small loan from the Small Business Administration. The restaurant was inaugurated on the 8th of June and it was more of like a place with general Chinese cuisine rather than Cantonese cuisine found in that area.
Cherng opened the first Panda Express, a fast-food restaurant in 1983 at the newly opened Glendale Galleria II mall in Glendale, California. In almost 5 years, the company opened more 100 branches with a famous outlet at the University of California, Los Angeles. Cherng was always of the opinion to keep the company’s business under close inspection.
By his family’s support, Cherng was able to launch some new restaurant concepts with huge investments such as Just Salad, Pieology, YakiYan and Ippudo. Slowly, money began to flow in and influenced Cherng’s career wonderfully.
In 2008, Cherng was listed among the Twenty-Five Notable Chinese Americans by Forbes. In 2018, Cherng purchased the former Mandarin Oriental hotel on the Las Vegas Street and later gave it a new brand name of Waldorf Astoria. The net worth of this property was $214 million.
Over the course of thirty-five years, Cherng and his wife, who became an excellent business duo have been contributing to the growth of Panda Express from a single small restaurant in California mall to a two thousand restaurant worldwide empire.
Currently, the Cherngs have acquired a net worth of $3 billion and this business duo have been recorded as the richest people in the world in the fast-food chain. The Panda Express food business do not franchise themselves, although it is so much widespread and popular. This is because they want to retain their ownership value, making their brand a rare one among other restaurant chains.
Starting from preserving the food quality to helping the chain grow, Cherng has continuously devoted himself even overtime to taste this success. Still, today Cherng and his wife contribute their entire life to virtually operate every Panda Express outlet themselves.