Panda Express founders Andrew and Peggy Cherng have been major benefactors of growing restaurants. Either through Panda or on their own, the Cherngs have routinely invested in smaller brands within the fast-casual market. 

The family has invested in a number of growth chains, acting as much as growth-equity investors as they do restaurant operators. They put money behind the 12-unit Urbane Cafe last year, for instance, and also invested in build-your-own-pizza chain Pieology and salad chain Just Salad.

The Cherngs also founded the Cherng Family Trust Office, expanding that group in 2016 as an alternative platform to focus on a variety of investments.