A beloved Chinese food chain recently took a risk when they introduced a progressive protein dish to their menu. It turns out, that move was a success—so much that they’re looking to take this item wider.
Last month, in collaboration with Beyond Meat, Panda Express introduced a vegan version of their bestselling Orange Chicken dish, calling the plant-based remix “Beyond the Original Orange Chicken.”
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Their aim, as they confirmed with Eat This, Not That! last month, was to test the plant-based item only in 10 Southern California and New York locations to help determine whether it could resonate across more markets. Based on the response, that seems likely.
This week, Insider reported that Panda Express sold through 1,300 pounds of the product on the launch’s first day. Meanwhile, the California locations that served the new dish sold out entirely “in less than just two weeks,” according to a Panda Express spokesperson.
“We are thrilled with the positive guest response around Beyond the Original Orange Chicken,” the representative added. “The excitement from our guests is unparalleled, and it’s one of our most successful regional launches to date at Panda.”
Today it’s reported that leaders for the company are now conducting further due diligence to consider a nationwide rollout of Beyond the Original Orange Chicken.
Based on what Panda Express representatives have shared in this update, it seems Beyond the Original Orange Chicken is one of the warmest-received vegan fast food launches to date. Recently, chains like Burger King, Starbucks, and Wendy’s have added meatless items to their menus. (Read 5 Best New Fast-Food Items for Your Waistline.) But, for the Panda Express crowd, the vegan take on the brand’s beloved Orange Chicken appears to have hit a serious sweet spot. After sampling the dish, some Panda customers have said it is totally indistinguishable from the brand’s original Orange Chicken.
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