MANILA - The founder and CEO of Panda Express said he wants to duplicate the success of Jollibee as the American restaurant chain expands in the Philippines.
Panda Express, the world's largest American Chinese dining concept inaugurated on Monday its first store in the Philippines, which was a joint venture with Jollibee.
"I see Jollibee everywhere, so my inspiration is possibly we can also see Panda Express everyhwere," said company co-CEO and cofounder Andrew Cherng in an exclusive interview with ANC's The Boss.
Cherng said he hopes the Panda Express' store, located in Megamall, will be the first of many restaurants in the country.
The Panda Express boss said he and Jollibee founder and CEO Tony Tan Caktiong have known each other for ten years since the Filipino fastfood chain started expanding in the US. But it was only five years ago they thought of creating a joint venture to get Panda Express into the Philippines.
"We were invited by Tony (Tan Caktiong) to be part of that investment together, and I felt very safe, very trusting to do this together," Cherng said.
Cherng said they respected each other because of their backgrounds, shared heritage and the way they looked at life.
Like Jollibee, Panda also started small. It began as a small restaurant in a southern California mall in 1983. In 36 years, it grew to a chain of 2,200 stores in 12 countries, making Cherng and his cofounder wife Peggy billionaires.
Panda Express' goal is to provide customer with good food at an affordable price, which was also Jollibee's growth strategy.
"Affordability is the most important thing."
Panda Express plans to hire more Filipinos as it completes the opening of five stores in the Philippines.
Its first store is set to open in SM Megamall on December 12.