Panda Express in the UK - Do They Franchise?

panda express franchise

The Panda Express journey began ten years prior to the opening of the first Panda Express restaurant, when the Panda Restaurant Group launched its first Panda Inn restaurant in Pasadena, California in 1973.

After a decade of success, the group then opened the doors to its first Panda Express, which - as its name suggests - offered a fast food version of Panda Inns offerings. This new brand combined the food traditions of China and America, creating a fusion menu of American-Chinese cuisine. And the Panda Restaurant Group didnt stop there. In 1992, the first Hibachi-San was launched in Minnesota, providing customers with Japanese teppanyaki and sushi.

With more than 30 years experience in the food industry and a Golden Chain Award from the National Restaurant Association, Panda Express is a successful and profitable business to get involved with. Having already celebrated the launch of its 2,000th restaurant, the American-Chinese fast food franchise is seeing rapid development across the US, as well as in Canada, Puerto Rico, Saudi Arabia, Japan and Korea.

Panda Restaurant Group is proud of the genuine family environment of its restaurants, as well as its track record of providing quality food and professional and personal development. It is also passionate about evolving as a business, and is working to become a world leader in people development.

Is there a Panda Express in the UK?

Panda Express is a relatively America-orientated business. Established in 1983 in Glendale, California, Panda Express restaurants can now be found in thousands of locations across America. The brand has grown to become Americas largest family-owned restaurant, and generates a turnover of $2 billion.
Although the brand has branched out to countries such as Canada, Japan and Korea, there is little information to suggest that the UK currently has any Panda Express restaurants.

Panda Express UK locations

While this brand hasnt expanded into the UK yet, a franchising agreement could be extremely lucrative for the American-Chinese business. With its dedication to expansion and brand development, UK Panda Express locations could be in the pipeline for the future - the UK certainly doesnt suffer from a lack of fans of Asian cuisine. An expansion into British territories, taking advantage of a gap in the UK food market, has the potential to be extremely beneficial for the Panda Restaurant Group.

Panda Express UK franchise

Panda Restaurant Group states that it manages all of its branded restaurants other than those in specific locations such as airports, universities, military bases, hospitals, casinos, amusement parks and stadiums. However, the restaurant brand is not offering franchising opportunities in America or elsewhere for the time being.

Other Franchise Opportunities

While Panda Express may not be franchising currently, there are many similar franchises that offer Asian cuisine or fast food dishes in the UK. Lets take a look at some of the best options.


Established in Chester in 2008, this Asian food franchise offers noodle and rice dishes, along with salads, soups and Asian ice creams. Wok&Go blends food traditions from Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, China and Japan to bring the very best healthy and speedy dishes to its customers. The brand is based on very quick service, despite only cooking individual dishes after the order has been made, ensuring that only fresh and nutritious food makes its way to customers.

The dream of freshly prepared, quick and healthy food is inspired by the noodle bars found in New York City, which enable residents to quickly enjoy their purchased dish at high tables, or take it away in a box. This American tradition has made its way across the Atlantic and is now available to sample here in the UK.

Asian food fanatics can find Wok&Go in 18 locations in the UK, across North West, North East and Southern England and Wales. Whats more, the brand has high hopes for expansion, and has plans for further stores in Kuwait and Dubai.

Interested franchisees should make an investment of £200,000, and pay franchise fees of £15,000. This will provide help in the recruitment and staff training processes, and ensure the allocation of a dedicated area manager that will visit the franchise twice a month.

Wok to Walk

Wok to Walk is a similar franchise offering Asian cuisine with speedy service. Founded in Amsterdam in 2004, the franchise recognises the demand for quick, healthy and varied meals in the modern world, providing tasty dishes across almost 100 locations around the world. The franchise gets in fresh supplies daily, and only uses the highest quality, MSG-free ingredients.

Customers are given complete freedom over their choices, with the option to create their meal from scratch. Visitors select a base from a range of varieties of noodles and rice, and add meat, fish, fruit or vegetables, along with a sauce, such as Shanghai or Szechuan, and a topping of nuts, seeds, jalapenos or other garnishes.

Wok to Walk is ambitious in its plans to grow its brand, particularly within the UK. The Asian food franchise is actively looking for potential business partners who are interested in managing their own Wok to Walk store. Those interested in franchising with the brand also have the option of becoming a master franchisee and governing a collection of Wok to Walk outlets.

Franchisees will need to invest a minimum of £100,000, plus £45,000 in franchise fees, and, in return, will benefit from a comprehensive training programme.


Another way of tapping into the market for Asian food and drink products is to invest in a bubble tea franchise. Bubbleology was founded in 2011 and now has stores across the UK and US. The brand offers a menu of hot or cold flavoured fruit and milk bubble teas with chewy tapioca balls.

Bubbleology is passionate not only about the development of the brand but about making a positive impact and giving to less fortunate communities. That means that customers can feel good about their purchase, as the bubble tea business donates money to international programmes that help to build wells in Africa.

Franchisees should be able to make an investment of £120,000 and hold some industry experience and/or market knowledge. Franchisees can regularly visit the Bubbleology headquarters in London to boost their knowledge of the brand, and benefit from established training schemes.

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