here's nothing more American than the conviction that efficient mass production confers validation. Andrew and Peggy Cherng are well on the road to making fried tofu and orange chicken as validly American as Big Macs and fries. If they realize their dream of opening 10,000 Panda Express restaurants at about the same pace as McDonald's (30,000 worldwide in 50 years), today's teens may be telling their grandkids about the rigors of shoveling Chinese after school with a smile and a paper cap.
The Cherngs' huge appetite for success was whetted in East Pasadena in 1973 when Andrew turned his back on a B.S. in applied math and got his dad to become the chef of the first Panda Inn. Today the Cherngs boast 600 locations, enough to achieve virtual suburban ubiquity.