Panda Restaurant Group to roll out new test kitchen concept, branding campaign, mobile app and online ordering system this year

LOS ANGELES , June 2, 2014 () – Panda Restaurant Group Inc. will be coming out with a few new innovations this year, which includes a mobile app, a new branding campaign, a system-wide rollout of online ordering, and a new test kitchen concept, Nation’s Restaurant News reported May 30.

“It’s an exciting time for Panda in that we have an opportunity to start from a position of leadership in our category, and to move beyond that from a standpoint of innovation, “ said Dave Wallinga, Panda Restaurant Group’s vice president of guest marketing.

The company will experiment with new menu ideas, methods of preparation, service and design at the new Panda test kitchen, which will open as a freestanding restaurant in Pasadena, California, in June, not too far from the company’s Rosemead, California, headquarters.

The test kitchen will include an in-restaurant Tea Bar, where hot and cold tea-based drinks will be served, as well as grab-and-go menu items, such as bao sandwiches.

Panda Express will also be rolling out a mobile app, which is set to debut in the fourth quarter. The app, which includes a nutrition calculator and a restaurant finder tool, will easily allow guests to place their orders and make their payments straight from their smartphones. After ordering online or on their smartphones, customers would skip the lines and go straight to the register for pickup.

The quick-service restaurant chain has also introduced a branding campaign called “Panda Anda You,” which aims at promoting Panda Express as a family-owned business that has had a long history of community involvement, according to Wallinga.

“That’s a story we don’t talk about very often,” he added.

The campaign first debuted earlier this year with a new version of the Orange Chicken with bacon bits and the Shiitake Kale Chicken Breast, both of which were a limited-time offer.

Sales at Panda Express have been on the rise, with single-digit increases in same-store sales, Wallinga said. The chain is scheduled to open 100 new restaurants in 2014, including a few international locations in Mexico, Canada and Dubai.

The primary source of this article is Nation’s Restaurant News, New York, New York, on May 30, 2014. Click here to read the primary source's full version of the article.

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