Cost Of a Panda Express Franchise

Do you want to see how much a Panda Express franchise would cost? That is exactly what this article would teach you.

  • What is Panda Express, and how does it work?
  • Is Panda Express a business that can be franchised
  • Who is the owner of Panda Express?
  • In 2021, how do you launch a Panda Express franchise?

We’ll walk you through what to expect when opening a Panda Express franchise, step by step.

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Article Road Map

What is Panda Express, and how does it work?

Panda Express is a fast-food restaurant chain in the United States that specializes in American Chinese cuisine… And, like all other company cuisines, they wanted to offer something special to the table.

Andrew Cherng and his master chef, his father, Ming Tsai Cherng, founded the company in 1973 in California, United States.

Panda Express, like any other new company, didn’t get off to a flying start. They had some downtime, which prompted Andrew Cherng to give freebies to entice customers to dine at the restaurant (Panda Inn).

Donahue Schreiber (a real estate manager) invited the Cherngs to open a Panda Inn fast food outlet for the Galleria’s (Real estate) food court in 1983, and thus Panda Express was born.

The corporation now has over 2,200 locations around the world.

While Panda Express has proven to be a profitable business venture, it would seem natural for people to want to buy one of its franchise locations – which takes us to the big question.

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Is Panda Express a Franchise?

Panda Express is not a chain of restaurants!

The corporation has opted to remain corporately owned, ruling out the possibility of a franchise. Panda Inn, Hibachisan, and Panda Express are all part of the Panda Express company.

The firm has agreed to pass on all options to expand its market or sell its stock to the general public. To maintain their family’s beliefs and ideals, they have opted to own and run their restaurants entirely.

The company is currently run by a loving couple, Andrew and Peggy Cherng, who have collectively grown the company to a fortune of over $3 billion, selling over 90 million pounds of chicken per year. Managing over 2,000 restaurants around the country.

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How to Open a Panda Express Franchise

It is not possible to open a franchise in a single day. There are many considerations and decisions that are important, as well as significant startup expenses.

Also, if you are in the Real Estate industry and have had a fire accident with your real estate property and are searching for urgent assistance after the fire, or if you were a survivor of the Eugene disaster, don’t hesitate to look into this franchise offering for your real estate property.

To open a restaurant under Panda Express’s branding, you must first receive a license from the company. This license is only available for $25,000 and is non-refundable.

The license is valid for 10 years and can be extended for another 5 years. Additional payments will apply to the extension, but the amount will be decided at the time of renewal.

You must also find a location to house your restaurant, facilities to operate your restaurant, supplies, merchandise, and staff in addition to obtaining your license. To open each of these, you’ll need to pay a large sum of money.

The expense of opening and running a Panda Express location for the first three months is expected to be between $360,000 and $1,545,000. The venue and scale of the restaurant room are the two most significant cost disparities.

Real estate rates and living costs vary widely across the country, if not the globe, making it difficult to estimate exact start-up costs. Regardless, a potential franchisee must be available to invest enough money to fund the business.


Panda Express will assist you with funding to help you realize your goal of opening a restaurant. They can set up payment arrangements for you if you do not have the liquid funds to buy the franchise license outright.

The terms of your arrangement will be determined by a variety of considerations, including your credit history, which will be carried out with Panda Express during the application process.

They do not sell company loans to assist with such start-up expenses like building leasing or equipment acquisitions at this time. You can contact the financial institution if you need assistance with a business loan.

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How Much Does a Panda Express Franchise Cost?

  • The initial investment table depicts the costs associated with opening a single Panda Express restaurant. It’s worth noting that these figures differ a lot.
  • The data applies to all categories of restaurants and venues. The cost of a building depends on whether it is a new development or an existing restaurant, as well as the state of the site, its venue, and its size.
  • Unless otherwise stated, Panda Express payments are non-refundable. Amounts charged to suppliers/vendors are refunded following any agreements you make with them.
  • These figures provide an estimation of the range of the initial costs in building a single Unit Location and running that position for the first three months. It’s possible that the original costs would be higher or lower.
  • The price you pay for a running Panda Express Restaurant from Panda Express, Inc. (PEI) and other acquisition terms will be agreed upon between you and PEI and are not reflected in the table below. In the last eight years, PEI has sold three restaurants to licensees, with sales prices ranging from $136,963 to $1,261,913.

Panda Express License Fee ($25,000)

It’s worth noting that the Panda Express license fee isn’t refundable.

An initial training schedule is in the Panda Express licensing fee. However, you are solely responsible for the other costs of educational programs, such as tuition fares, lodging, and other expenses.

3 Month’s Rent Fee ( Lease of Premises Cost – $10,000 to $425,000)

This initial rent rate is dependent on the locations of different shop outlets around the country.

  • The cost of rent varies depending on lease terms, square footage, location, age and state of the building, and other factors.
  • The rent figures are based on numerous Restaurant venues around the country. The range is based on three months’ rent.
  • The range offered is dependent on location, square footage, age and state of the construction, lease agreements, and other factors. This could vary significantly from one area to the next. Rent in airports can be considerably higher than in other venues, which accounts for the chart’s high end.
  • In a small location, a Panda Express Restaurant will typically be 500 to 1,500 square feet, but a few units will be closer to 3,000 square feet.
  • Other fees can be levied by the service, such as Common Area Maintenance (“CAM”), electricity, taxes, and insurance. Minimum rent and percentage rent (typically 10%) are often specified in leases above a certain sales volume threshold.
  • CAM is normally 35 % to 50 % of the minimum rent in a food court. There is also a pro-rated fee for taxation, benefits, and services.

Leasehold Improvements:  $80,000 to $700,000

  • To open, you must adhere to Panda Express’s design specifications and construction process, as well as obtain its approval. The cost of building and leasehold upgrades is determined by the Restaurant’s scale, condition, and location, as well as the local labor cost.
  • The cost of fair renovations or leasehold upgrades is in the list of estimates specified for a Panda Express Restaurant, which could be less if the lessor gives a construction credit to the lessee.
  • Construction charge-backs for work done by the landlord are also in the calculation.
  • Counters, desks, benches, wall coverings, lights, and other accessories are examples of fixtures. The cost of fixtures can vary based on the Restaurant’s seating space, the leasing or financing conditions open to you, the Restaurant’s configuration, and other related factors.
  • The high estimate requires 2,500 square feet of leasehold renovations, as well as an intricate exhaust system, which is important to the lessor.

Furniture, Fixtures, Equipment, and Supplies:  $90,000 to $310,000

  • Grills, refrigerators, induction tables, and other equipment are important for the operation of a restaurant. good and old brands and models can be purchased or leased from approved third-party retailers, as well as Panda Express under restricted situations.
  • The cost of the equipment is determined by the applicable loan conditions, the size of the factory, the brands bought, and other factors

Initial Inventory:  $2,200 to $10,000

  • You can buy the initial inventory from designated or authorized third-party product vendors, in some cases, Panda Express. Various culinary ingredients, patented spice blends, seasonings, flavorings, menu, sauces and marinades, beverages, paper products, cleaning materials, and miscellaneous items useful in the Restaurant’s service are in the initial inventory. 
  • The initial inventory expenditure would vary, and the low-high range provided was calculated based on expected sales demand and current supply market rates.

Computer Hardware and Operating System Cost ($14,000 to $21,000)

Panda Express expects the computer hardware for use at first to cost between $12,000 and $17,000. The software would cost between $2,000 and $4,000.

These prices, however, vary depending on the manufacturer, the equipment’s operational specifications, whether it’s old or new, and whether you’re buying or leasing the equipment.

Employees at Panda Express make between $22,894 and $96,598 a year.

As a Panda Express member, you must adhere to the company’s payment conditions for workers who work for you.

The average Panda Express employee wage is $47,026 a year, according to Payscale.com. This pay is split by workers with the following job title:

  • General Manager of the Restaurant – ($33,000 to $67,000)
  • ($75,000 to $175,000) Chief Operating Officer (COO)
  • ($20,000 to $51,000) Cook Supervisor

Annual Insurance Premium Fee ($30,000 to $75,000) for Panda Express

It’s important to keep insurance plans that cover liabilities issued by Panda Express-approved carriers up to date at all times.

The company specifies the forms and quantities of coverage that are important under these policies, and economically appropriate revisions may be useful.

Other costs associated with a Panda Express franchise include:

  • Deposits for sales taxes ($4,500 to $10,000)
  • The cost of construction management (ranges from $17,000 to $50,000)
  • Fees for architectural architecture (ranging from $17,000 to $35,000)
  • Fee for non-resettable cash registers ($6,000–$8,000)

In 2021, a Panda Express restaurant would cost between $377,100 and $1,599,000 on average.

Instead of a traditional licensed captive model of restaurant site, the company did a small pilot program in which a licensee’s unit location could be free-standing, have a wider footprint, or be built with a drive-thru feature.

You are primarily responsible for defining and dealing with all relevant rules, regulations, and codes if you want to be an affiliate with the company.

And, unless otherwise all Panda Express franchise fees charged to the corporation are non-refundable. In addition, payments charged to retailers and manufacturers are only refunded following agreed terms.

It’s also worth noting that Panda Express fees differ significantly depending on whether your choice of restaurant is new or already in service, as well as the state of the premises, its current geographic location, and its scale.


if you’re buying an existing Panda Express restaurant via (PEI – Panda Express Inc.), the price of the restaurant’s properties and other terms of purchase will be agreed upon between you and the firm.

Expenses for initial training range from $13,000 to $29,000.

An initial training package for each Unit Location is also in the Initial License Fee. You are responsible for the costs of preparation for you and all of the employees who undergo the training program however this includes accommodation, housing, incidental, and other expenses.

Panda Express has the option of charging a fee for additional and/or subsequent staff training.

$0 to $10,000 in Miscellaneous Funds

Security reserves, utility charges, and other miscellaneous expenditures to start operations. Other financial provisions are also in this grouping.

Since they vary with the scale of the company (staff, expected amount of business, etc.) you run, you may need more Miscellaneous Funds.

$60,000 to $110,000 in additional funds (3 months)

You’ll need money to cover :

  • Extra inventory
  • Equipment
  • Accounting
  • Administration expenses/benefits
  • Utilities
  • Recruiting and preparation fees
  • Clothing
  • Contributions
  • Discounts

Outside facilities, such as defense, safety, sanitation, quality control/evaluation, polling, publicity, laundry, and skilled services, are also important.

This is just a guess however during the first three months of service, you will need extra funds. You may have recurring costs and sales requirements.

Panda Express Franchise Alternatives

About the fact that Panda Express is not a franchise, other companies sell franchises.

$45,000 – McDonald’s

$10,000 – 7-Eleven

$640,000 – Dunkin Donuts

$25,000 – Taco Bell

If you’re planning to purchase a franchise in 2021, these are all respectable firms to consider.

Purchasing/owning a franchise, in general, offers you a competitive edge over other start-up companies, it provides independence while also providing access to a large business network.

You don’t need any prior sales background to operate a franchise and the franchisor would protect you.

Running a company franchise would also give you a better success rate than most start-up companies. This is because, unlike start-up businesses, franchises already have a proven reputation and name, which gives you leverage.

Starting a franchise has its drawbacks as well…

There are also limitations on where you can work, what goods you can sell and purchase.

Income is still split by the franchisor, so there isn’t complete financial independence.

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