Panda Express says to build over 250 restaurants in Mexico by 2021

MEXICO CITY, March 5 Wed Mar 5, 2014 9:59pm EST

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MEXICO CITY, March 5 (Reuters) - U.S.-based Panda Restaurant Group expects to open more than 250 Panda Express fast-food restaurants in Mexico by 2021, the company said on Wednesday.

The buffet-style chain currently runs 18 restaurants in Mexico, and expects to open at least 10 more by the end of this year, said spokeswoman Thien Ho.

"Mexico is the most natural expansion for us due to its proximity," said Ho. "It allows us to set up stores quickly, and travel back and forth very quickly."

Investment figures for the expansion were not immediately available.

The Rosemead, California-based company, which has operated in Mexico with franchise partner Grupo Gigante since 2011, currently operates more than 1,650 restaurants in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti touted the expansion plan on Wednesday, part of his week-long trade mission to the Mexican capital which also touched on airline and tourism projects.

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