Panda Express a sizzling success at EWU

By Marco Vargas, Contributor

Since the PUB opened this winter after the completion of its remodel, EWU took its dining service to a new level.

Panda Express is growing well and has been quite popular for EWU students on campus, according to Panda Express manager Max Simon. The university chose Panda Express from a list of other potential franchises to bring to the PUB.

“To my understanding, the dining services team were looking at other franchises to bring in, and the way that Panda worked and the payment method for their royalties was very attractive for how the Eastern Washington University dining services budget was set up,” Simon said. “So, they went with Panda. Plus, it’s very popular on other college campuses.”

Simon said that Panda Express’ popularity is another cause of how the restaurant’s arrival at the PUB came to be. EWU did demographic research with other college campuses and saw that the restaurant was very popular on those campuses.

“A lot of students wanted it in regard to what selection they could choose between other franchises,” Simon said. “Panda was always ranked a little bit higher than any other.”

Since the PUB officially reopened, Panda Express has been averaging about 1,000 students per day. The restaurant has also been averaging about $9,500-$9,800 per day as well, according to Simon.

According to Simon, Panda Express has received a lot of positive feedback from students. Students’ satisfactions have come with the quality of fresh food and how fast the service is. Students spoke about the line being a little long, but said that the food is worth the wait.

“We’re busy and things are looking good and students are happy with it,” said Simon. “We employ a lot of students and the community is happy that it’s (at EWU), which is closer than in Airway Heights. So, a lot of the Cheney community comes to eat and the faculty staff that are employed for (EWU) come, too. People were waiting for a while for (Panda Express) to open. I think they are happy that it’s finally here.”

With the new addition of Panda Express on the EWU campus, students can now take advantage of the popular dining option waiting for them, especially for those who have not eaten there or ordered from there before.

“We help them along,” Simon said. “That’s part of our customer service. And allowing that customer service to be friendly and making sure students working in Panda make good operations for the (EWU) dining services.”

Simon said that business is operating very well at Panda Express, but that it also has room for improvement.

“Some of the students asked if there is more of a choice in the menu with regards to vegetarian, and Panda is not set up that way,” Simon said. “Unfortunately, we don’t have that option for them. We do offer things that are vegetarian. I think if we were to improve, that would be more of a company change than the university dining change. We are working in constant with Panda at (EWU), but we are representing the brand Panda. So, we need to be respectful to the brand.”