Panda Express now confirms what Have You Heard? first reported was a possibility in September.
The national chain is making its first foray into the Wichita market with four to six restaurants in the next two to three years.
"We'd love to open our first one this year — two if we can," says Susan Flesher , the chain's senior regional real estate manager.
The company, based in Rosemead, Calif., has 1,300 sites nationally serving Chinese food in a fast-casual style.
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Flesher compares Panda Express' format to the serving lines at Chipotle .
Diners first select a starch — steamed or fried rice or chow mein — and vegetables followed by two to three entrees.
Entrees consist of traditional Chinese dishes like kung pao chicken, sweet-and-sour pork and beef and broccoli.
Orange chicken is "kind of our signature dish," Flesher says.
The chain likes locating in freestanding buildings with drive-throughs and at building endcaps near where a Walmart , Target , Lowe's or Home Depot is located.
"Right now we're really looking for endcaps," Flesher says.
She's working on the first two sites now, one on the east side and one west.
Leisa Lowry with J.P. Weigand & Sons is representing Panda Express.
Flesher says the chain is particularly active with schools and children's groups in each of the markets it's in through a program called Panda Cares .
"We give back to the community," she says. "Panda Cares is a big deal for us."
Coupons.com has named Wichita one of the Top 20 Most Frugal U.S. Cities .
The Web site offers coupons and other savings to consumers.
The site's savings index ranks cities of 300,000 or more people on how they compare using coupons printed from the site and the Coupons.com network.
Wichita ranks No. 19. The site says Wichitans are 1 1/2 times more likely to use coupons than residents of other cities.
The site says the top coupon users reside in the South and the Midwest.
You don't say
"I'm here to steal ideas."
—Tom Pickens III , CEO of Astrotech in Austin, speaking to a group of entrepreneurs at the Pipeline Innovator of the Year event in Overland Park this week