The couple (Andrew and Peggy Cherng) that founded the restaurant company Panda Express both have degrees in Mathematics. The husband has a masters and the wife has a Ph.D.Previous Fact Next Fact
Rew Cherng is a Chinese-born American billionaire restaurateur. The Cherngs invest out of their family office, the Cherng Family Trust. Cherng was born in April 1948 in Yangzhou, Jiangsu Province, Republic of China on the northern bank of the Yangtze River. In 1966, at age 18, he immigrated to the United States to study at an American university. In 1972, he moved to the Los Angeles area to help his cousin run a restaurant called Ting Ho. After a few months, he found a restaurant in Pasadena to take over. In June 1973, along with his father Ming Tsai Cherng, they took over a restaurant and started a new Chinese restaurant called Panda Inn in Pasadena, California on Foothill Boulevard, using funds from the family and a Small Business Administration loan. In 1983, Andrew Cherng opened the first Panda Express, a fast food restaurant, at the newly opened Glendale Galleria II mall in Glendale, California.
He had been prompted to start the spin off by the developer of the mall who had eaten at Panda Inn and invited Cherng to take a place at the food court. The company had expanded to 100 restaurants by 1993, with the opening of an outlet at the University of California, Los Angeles. The chain has become one of the largest Chinese American family-owned fast food chains in the US. Cherng has stated a preference for keeping the company closely held. The Cherngs have since invested heavily in new restaurant concepts such as Just Salad, YakiYan, Ippudo, and Pieology. In March 2017, the California Institute of Technology announced that they were changing the name of its medical engineering department to the Andrew and Peggy Cherng Department of Medical Engineering after receiving a $30 million gift from Andrew and Peggy Cherng. In the following month, the University of Missouri announced receiving a $1.5 million gift from the Cherngs which would benefit its Honors College. Two of their daughters, Andrea and Nicole, work for the Panda company in its corporate headquarters. Since 2010, Cherng has been a member of the Committee of 100, an international, non-profit, non-partisan membership organization that brings a Chinese American perspective to issues concerning Asian Americans and U.S.-China relations.