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Panda expresses expansion plan in Arkansas

Ten Panda Expresses will be built within the year in Arkansas. This is the expansion plan for the chain restaurant said Pamela Trajano, the manager of the new Panda Express in Siloam Springs.

“We have 18,000 stores nationwide and we are planning to go overseas. We saw that Siloam was getting bigger and it’s a great community,” Trajano said.

On Oct. 20 the restaurant made its debut and its effect has been beneficial for both students and community.

Heather Pielemeier, senior construction management major, started working for the restaurant upon its opening and has enjoyed her work.

“Ever since we opened, the line has been almost out the door most of the day. We’re extremely busy and it’s important that as a staff we are a team,” Pielemeier said, “We must work together in order to deliver the best food and the best service we can.”

Panda2Trajano has lived in Rogers for the past five years and has served as the manager at the Rogers Panda Express, but she said she has never seen a community quite like Siloam.

“This was the first time it was not hard to staff the store,” she said. “This community has a different definition of work and the older generations raised their kids well. I have 32 associates from this area and they made a huge effort to keep their jobs. Despite the distances they make it work.”

Trajano believes that Panda offers more than just a different type of food, but an ambiance. Although she said she has not had the chance to visit the local Asian cuisine she said their restaurant is set apart.

Annie Xiong, employee at Thai café, said, “We definitely have seen how it has been slower here since Panda has come to town.”

“The first week it was slower and everyone in town they want to go and try the new restaurant. Hopefully for a month or so and then our business will go back to normal,” normal,” Xiong said.

Trajano believes that each restaurant offers something different, which shouldn’t hinder business.

“We want to see people better their lives and we are a stepping stone for them. We are in to developing the people and wanting them to grow with us, ” Trajano said. She said their focus on growth and her staff is the most important.

“We are well known nationwide and the name brand alone says a lot. The local places serve something different and we offer a quality of food and service. Our staff is very diverse and are people-focused.”

Panda’s next locations are set to be in Fort Smith and Little Rock, Ark.