September 6, 2004 |
Forget the burger battles and taco tussles. The latest food fight in Southern California is between wok-wielding foes vying to dominate the market for fast, fresh and affordable Asian fare. Pei Wei Asian Diner, Pick Up Stix and others are expanding despite the hurdles: an abundance of mom-and-pop competitors, a shortage of prime restaurant sites and the complexities behind churning out shrimp with lobster sauce, vegetarian stir-fry and three-flavored dumplings.
August 13, 2008 |
Andrew Cherng remembers pacing through his Chinese restaurant in Pasadena wondering whether any customers would show. It was a difficult time. He had borrowed from family members and the Small Business Administration to open the eatery and had debts to pay. "People would stick their heads in and leave," Cherng recalled. His mother went out and sprinkled the sidewalk with salt, a Chinese custom to expel negative energy. It worked. Thirty-five years later, Cherng, 61, and his wife, Peggy, control one of the largest family-owned fast-food empires in America.