Andrew and Peggy Cherng came to the United States in 1966. In 1983, they opened their first Panda Express in Glendale, California. Now, there are nearly 1,800 stores around the world all still owned by the same family.
It’s an immigrant story that parallels every dish they serve: inspired by China, crafted in America. And it’s what makes Panda Express the home of an entirely new category of cuisine: American Chinese food.
Since 2012, we’ve had the privilege to help Panda Express define their brand and this new category with every campaign. In that time, we’ve helped increase same-store sales and transactions, as well as help generate the best quarter in the company’s history. And that’s good fortune for everyone involved.
Every spring, Panda Express introduces a Wok Smart dish for a limited time—a lighter entrée with 300 calories or less and 8g of protein or more. Five Flavor Shrimp boasts solid nutrition and a harmonious combination of five unique tastes: sweet, sour, bitter, umami, and salty. The unconventional flavor profile of the dish provided ample opportunity for storytelling that played with the number five and elements coming together.
General Tso’s Chicken has been on the menu at Chinese restaurants across America for over 40 years along with Panda’s original Orange Chicken. It’s the quintessential American Chinese dish. In 2016, Panda Express added it to their menu for the very first time with a reimagined recipe inspired by Chinese cooking, but crafted for an American audience.
A chork is a utensil made of a fork on one end and chopsticks on the other. Chorks went viral for Panda Express after we introduced them at a launch event for General Tso’s Chicken, the perfect blend of American and Chinese influences in a single dish.
American Chinese food gets a bad rep for being heavy, greasy and generally unhealthy, but Pacific Chili Shrimp is yet another Panda dish that proves all the haters wrong. This dish showcased Panda’s fresh, high quality ingredients and thoughtful dish preparation—and guests couldn’t get enough. The Pacific Chili Shrimp promotion led to the highest sales quarter in Panda Express history.
Panda Express is a family-owned company with a rich history of caring for people and sharing their good fortune—but unless you know that first hand, you might think Panda is just another a corporate behemoth. In order to disprove that belief, we brought the founders’ values to the forefront with Fortune Girl: a young girl who shares good fortune wherever she goes.
There are more than 65 million pounds of Orange Chicken sold every year at Panda Express. It’s their signature original dish, invented by Executive Chef Andy Kao almost 30 years ago—and it has a cult following. We helped celebrate the original dish with a fanatical campaign that included a cross-country food truck tour, a swag shop, chef cook-offs and more.
Chinese Spare Ribs was the beginning of shaping the Chinese inspired, American crafted brand story. It was a perfect mash-up of traditional Chinese spare ribs and classically American barbecue. So to promote it, we captured both worlds: ribs on the streets of Hong Kong and barbecue culture in the heart of Texas.
Chinese New Year brings billions home in China every year, but most Americans don’t celebrate it or know what’s it about. As a self-appointed ambassador of Chinese culture in America, Panda Express aims to make Chinese New Year as mainstream as Dia De Los Muertos or St. Patrick’s Day.