The word express gets thrown around a lot these days, and many companies have trouble delivering on that promise. Not so with Panda Express. This casual restaurant chain has speed down to a science. Lucky for you, their hiring process is equally fast. The company is always looking for talented individuals to fill the ranks, and you could be next on their list.
It all starts with a Panda Express application. From there, you’ll be set in a rewarding career faster than it takes to make a plate of food and ring it through in one of the many locations. We’ll explore the company’s rich history, their culture, and show you what it takes to get hired. Let’s get started.
A Brief Overview and History of the Company
Panda Express is classified as a fast casual restaurant chain that serves an American rendition of Chinese cuisine. The chain is centered in the United States with standalone locations and a mixture of locations in casinos, shopping malls, strip malls, theme parks, stadiums, campuses, and even military bases. The first stand-alone drive-through location didn’t open until 1997.
Today there are over 1,700 locations in 47 states, so if you live in the U.S, you won’t have too much trouble finding a Panda Express to work at. There are even locations in Puerto Rico and Guam so there’s no excuses if you live there either. All of the places in the chain are company owned, so no franchises.
In terms of the menu, there’s a wide variety of items like Orange Chicken, Beijing Beef, Kung Pao Chicken, and a number of sides included with combo meals. These sides include fried rice, Chow Mein, and mixed vegetables.
To remain health conscious, the company doesn’t add any MSG to items after they are delivered. In addition, they won’t purchase items from vendors who add MSG to the items before they’re delivered.
The name, Panda Express, comes from the fact that it’s a more casual version of the parent company’s Panda Inn line of restaurants. That same parent company, the Panda Restaurant Group, owns this company, Panda Inn, and Hibachi-San.
It was founded by Andrew and Peggy Cherng in addition to Andrew’s father Chef Ming Tsai. The entire family hailed from the Yangzhou region of China’s Jiangsu province.
The first location they opened was a Panda Inn restaurant in 1973 in Pasadena, California. In 1983 the company was approached by the management of the Glendale Galleria to create a fast-food version of their Panda Inn. It was through this arrangement that Panda Express was born. As of 2014, the company brings in over $2 billion in revenue per year and has over 25,000 employees.
When it comes to Chinese cuisine, Panda Express has a rock solid grip on the industry.
That being said, if you’re interested in a fast food career, there are plenty of places you can apply to. In the spirit of speed, check out Subway for some of the fastest sandwich artists this side of the Wild West.
Panda Express Application Online
As long as you’re sixteen years of age or older, you’re ready to start a career in the ever growing fast food industry. Begin by heading to the Panda Express careers page on the website.
With options to work in all manner of various locations like malls, airports, and theme parks, you’ll have plenty of options to meet your commute and career needs. The most prevalent positions are the entry level and part-time ones.
In terms of skills, here are some basic requirements that make up the ideal Panda Express candidate:
- Fast and focused work ethic
- Great customer service
- Cleanliness and attention to organization
These kinds of qualities are paramount, so be sure to show them in your interview or in the past experience included on your application.
If you’re considering a career in management, be ready to build your administrative portfolio and understand what goes into the sales and inventory of a restaurant location. If you have prior experience, management positions are constantly opening up with Panda Express.
In the end, you’ll need to be prepared for an intense and fast-paced work environment. With these things in mind, you can better utilize your time in an interview or conversation with the manager to exemplify these things.
While You Wait for The Call…
Many job hopefuls will turn in their application, maybe follow up, and then wait around for the call to schedule their interview. In this competitive job market, that’s not enough and it won’t ever be.
The secret lies in who you know as the saying goes. So, how do you network and build your portfolio? With today’s social media and technology, it’s not hard at all actually. Here are some ways to network and make yourself known:
While having things like a Facebook profile and a Twitter is good for promoting yourself, nothing beats a great LinkedIn profile in the professional world. Think of it like Facebook, minus all the pictures of parties and Halloween costumes. You may still find pictures of people posing with their dogs though, that’s allowed here.
Building a great LinkedIn and “connecting” as they call it, with managers and other members of the Panda Express community, in addition to joining their group, will open up countless opportunities to network and build a reputation for yourself.
2. Become a Regular
One of the best ways to get hired at a business is to prove that you believe and love their services and products. Obviously you don’t want to eat Panda Express for breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day of the week, but maybe once a week you could stop by for lunch.
Chat it up with the employees when they’re not busy. Show a genuine interest in their company and managers will take notice of that.
I was a manager for a time in retail and I can tell you that this is a great way to meet various members of the leadership, build a report, and network your way to a slam dunk position with the company.
3. Attend Job Fairs
Many companies, Panda Express included, will attend job fairs and recruitment conferences to scout for new talent.
Keep your ear to the ground so to speak, and find opportunities to attend these types of events. While you’re there, meet and greet with as many people as you can to build that network.
Job Benefits and Final Thoughts
An important thing to look at when you’re applying for a job is the benefits. Knowing what kind of coverage and paid time off you can forward to is a great incentive to really strive for greatness in your time with the company. Here are some of the benefits you can look forward to:
- Health and wellness support
- Financial savings plans
- Time off
- Medical, dental, and vision insurance
- 401(k) retirement plans
- Bonus incentives
- Paid vacation
- Discounts on food
Before we part ways and you head online to begin the process of filling out the Panda Express application, I think it’s important to wrap things up and give you a few friendly tips.
Remember to fill out the online forms with 100% accurate information and always be honest in all of your answers. If there’s an option for a resume upload or cover letter, always take the opportunity.
Networking is your friend, and so am I, so always check back here at E-applicants for the best advice on all of your job searching needs.