ROSEMEAD, Calif. – Panda Express, which calls itself the world's leader in Asian dining experiences, is expanding into Mexico and plans to open its first restaurant on Sept. 3 in Mexico City. It is also planning to open more locations there in 2012 with the second restaurant scheduled to be a freestanding unit.

The company is partnering with premier master franchiser Grupo Gigante for its Mexico development and operation of its restaurants. This company is a key player in the Mexican economy as it has acquired commercial chains and created strategic alliances to develop Mexico and generate jobs for the country.

"In Mexico today, there is no clear leader in the Chinese fast-casual industry,” said Bob Lustig, senior vice president, Panda Express International. “This expansion is an opportunity for Panda Express to launch this sector by bringing our Orange Chicken and other favorites to the Mexican consumer. We have spent the last year developing deep relationships with the Grupo Gigante team, which has set a solid foundation for the success of this venture."