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

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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