Since the development of Panda Restaurant Group in 1973, it has been one of the largest and fastest-growing Asian restaurant companies in the nation. The group consists of Panda Inn, Panda Express, and Hibachi-San. Each restaurant provides different flavors, settings, and service styles. Panda Restaurant Group, headquartered in Rosemead, Calif., decided to bring hybrids on board to its fleet.
The Starting Line
In February 2006, Panda Restaurant Group started off with 10 Toyota Prius hybrids and then gradually added more. “We just started this program 19 months ago, and so far it’s been a great retention and marketing tool for our field/area managers and the rest of our associates,” says Gigi Cheung, director of compensation and benefits of Panda Restaurant Group.
Kevin Tang, compensation assistant for Panda Restaurant Group, handles the day-to-day administration and assignment of the hybrids. e also interfaces with fleet vendors and associates. “Out of our 130 vehicles, 114 are Toyota Prius models,” Tang said. Other company vehicles include the Toyota Matrix and Scion.
“So far, the hybrids have been working out well with the company, and we will be adding 12 more Prius’ by November. As the company grows, we will be in demand for more cars,” Tang added.
The hybrids are equipped with the company’s logo, a signature panda.
“We came a bit late (using hybrids), but at the right time,” says Cheung. “The Prius has matured since its release and has gained more confidence by drivers.”
Panda Restaurant Group recently attended a General Electric (GE) Eco- Imagination event and staff members discussed topics about the advantages of fleets going green. Cheung explained that they were already in the process.
“When our Prius fleet vehicles are driven by our managers and other associates, our company logo is wrapped around these vehicles. Not only are they a great marketing tool, but it sends off a positive message to the general public that we are a company that cares about the environment,” says Cheung.