How Rich Are The Panda Express CEOs And What's The Average Pay Of Their Employees?

If there's one thing Panda Express knows how to do, it's make people happy with good food. Delivering what their website notes as the "Panda Promise" — which is "crafting American Chinese food that tastes good and feels good for the body and soul" — Panda Express has become one of our favorite places to pick up tasty and cultured food. Just as important as the "Panda Promise," though, is "building a culture" of love. And, according to a 2018 interview with the The New York Times, co-owner Andrew Cherng stated that the verb "love" is one they very much encourage within their "Panda family." But does the pay that they issue out to their employees mimic the amount of "love" they emphasize throughout the company?

Indeed notes that those who work as cashiers earn an average hourly rate of $11.85, while kitchen team members and front-end associates are paid in the higher $12-13 range. Cooks, on the other hand, are paid pretty well at $13.91, with customer service associates coming in almost $1 higher at $14.66. 

And what about the other customer service roles? Out of all the roles listed, restaurant managers and general managers bring in the most pay per hour, with hourly rates of $18.82 and $18.92, respectively. While these pay rates may be worth bragging about to some, you may be surprised to know how they stack up when compared to the CEOs of Panda Express, Andrew and Peggy Cherng.

The husband-wife duo behind Panda Express has a net worth that's out of this world

Since opening their first Panda Express location in 1983, Andrew and Peggy Cherng have grown to amass a cult-like following (Panda Express). As a result, the duo have accumulated an even more impressive net worth. According to Forbes, as of May 2021, the husband and wife CEOs have a combined net worth of a whopping $2.1 billion. Business Insider refers to the couple as "two of the richest people in fast food," with a current net worth that's actually a bit lower than it was in December 2019 (just shortly before the onset of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic), as they were worth an astounding $3 billion combined at that time.

Losses aside, however, there's no denying that the Cherngs are worth an impressive amount. But where exactly does their fortune stem from, you ask? Well, to start, Forbes notes that Panda Express is worth $3.5 billion alone. Additionally, the two also run the Berkeley ramen house Ippudo and have invested in food chains that "sell everything from pizza, salad and cheesecake." Not to mention, in 2018, they "invested in a group that bought the Mandarin Oriental hotel in Las Vegas for $214 million."

While these amounts definitely play a large role in the couple's ever-growing net worth, other factors, such as savings and stocks, have not been revealed. And those could have a solid impact on where they stand financially, too.