Panda Express is the ‘Safest Place’ to Eat at, Researchers Say

Panda Express is the ‘Safest Place’ to Eat at, Researchers Say
Ryan General
By Ryan General
September 7, 2020
One restaurant chain has been deemed by a recent national survey as the safest in the food and beverage industry in the United States.
Survey says: According to global research firm Ipsos, popular Chinese American food chain Panda Express is the safest place for dining outside amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • The survey sought to evaluate the health and safety measures currently implemented by retailers and restaurants in response to COVID-19.
  • Ipsos based its data on Mystery Shoppers’ thousands of in-store visits that took note of the changes the stores made to protect their customers.
  • Findings revealed that Panda Express made sure all the necessary precautionary measures were followed.
  • The store was able to apply said measures across its numerous locations as the Mystery Shoppers’ multiple visits uncovered.
  • To determine the consistency of the stores, a mystery shopper reportedly visits a brand between 75 and 125 times. 
What Panda Express did right: By having necessary health- and safety-related signage, employees wearing protective gear and enforcing distancing measures, the restaurant chain did better overall against its competitors in the food and beverage industry. 
  • Mystery Shoppers’ data showed that two of three Panda Express outlets visited had signage reminding customers to stay 6 feet apart, and nearly the same number had signage regarding limited store occupancy at the exterior. The industry averages for such signages are at 42% and 17% respectively.
  • Most Panda Express outlets also provide dedicated one-way exits and entrances.
  • The majority of the locations also set up protective plexiglass barriers.
  • Panda Express restaurant employees were found to be wearing their masks properly 96% of the time while wearing gloves 82% of the time. The industry average for properly wearing masks among restaurant staff is at a remarkably low 27%.
  • As NextShark earlier reported, Panda Express founders Andrew and Peggy Cherng also donated $2 million dollars worth of protective equipment to front-liners fighting COVID-19.
More on the study: Other business categories are included in the study that took samples from a total of 25 brands.
  • In the grocery stores category, Whole Foods was declared safest, while in the financial services, Wells Fargo edged its competitors. 
  • “We are witnessing a century-old approach to customer experience make monumental changes in a matter of weeks and months; it’s really quite impressive,” U.S. Channel Performance group at Ipsos Senior Vice President Shohini Banerjee said in the report. “Many of the COVID-19 precautions and improvements are not small or inexpensive—they’re a complete shift in how employees behave and how products and services are distributed—a total disruption that retail has taken in stride.”
Feature Image via TaurusEmerald (CC BY-SA)
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