Senior Product Development Manager

At Panda, we all share a common mission: "Deliver exceptional Asian dining experiences by building an organization where people are inspired to better their lives." We invest in our people because great people run great operations that will exceed our guests' expectations. Talk to any of our associates and you will experience a culture dedicated to its mission and our five fundamental values- Proactive, Respect/Win-Win, Growth, Great Operations, and Giving.
Panda Restaurant Group includes the original Panda Inn fine dining restaurants, Panda Express, our Gourmet Chinese food concept served in a fast casual environment, and Hibachi San, our Japanese grill concept. The family owned and operated company is still run by founders Andrew and Peggy Cherng.
Panda offers competitive benefits and rewarding opportunities, from entry-level positions to management. We have restaurant positions available nationwide and support center positions in Rosemead, CA. Come join the nation's largest and fastest growing Asian restaurant company.
Summary of Job Scope and Expectations:
The Senior Product Development Manager is responsible for successfully launching new dishes through commercialization of complex formulations for use in new Panda recipes, providing for a consistent dining experience across all Panda stores. The Senior Product Development Manager drives the development, evaluation, optimization, and/or cost-reduction of new recipe components/ingredients and partners with the marketing team to ensure consumer optimization. This position directs and manages suppliers across all food categories, as well as creates the specifications for new ingredients.
Essential functions:
The essential functions in this job description are not all-inclusive of this job's duties and responsibilities. Reliable and dependable attendance is required.
Partners with Purchasing, Brand Innovation, Food Safety & Quality Assurance and suppliers to carry out new product development projects by scaling formulations for components/ingredients for manufacturing. Strives to improve ingredients while simplifying preparation and processes and identifying cost reduction opportunities. Implements and supports new cooking equipment tests. Utilizes strong project management skills.
Presents potential new components/ingredients and products to the Marketing team; facilitates discussion with the team concerning the acceptability of the product for consumer testing and arranges production of components/ingredients for the consumer tests. Conducts market research and competitive comparisons related to nutrition and ingredient trends. Deep technical understanding of food technology, processing, and ingredient functionality. Keeps abreast of technical advancements in food industry.
Engages Operations to test new products and solicits feedback from Operators. Obtains feedback on the execution of the product or ingredient, the quality of ingredients, and sales of the new product. Visits stores and discusses test, including identification of any challenges or suggested changes.
With Purchasing and Food Safety & Quality Assurance, identifies alternative suppliers for new components/ingredients if needed in preparation for implementing the new product across the company. If the recipe is not accepted by Marketing/Operations, partners with culinary staff to produce optimized product.
Manages, coaches, develops, and advises the Product Development Technologists.
Develops relationship with suppliers to ensure they understand and are familiar with the Panda culture, equipment, and concept. Serves as company representative to suppliers on company product development standards, quality assurance, marketing, and purchasing. Convinces suppliers to create ingredients to Panda's specifications. Oversees their training by bringing them to Panda stores for first-hand experience.
Bachelor's degree in Food Science, Chemistry, Biology or related field required. Advanced degree preferred.
Minimum seven years of experience in product development within food industry €“ consumer packaged goods, quick service or casual dining, with increasing management responsibilities. Savory/protein and meal development experience preferred.
Ability to demonstrate and teach Panda's Mission, Values, and Culture.
Knowledge of product development and testing.
Knowledge of food equipment and safety standards and regulations.
Knowledge of ingredients and raw materials and their interaction.
Knowledge of product specifications and quality assurance protocols and testing.
Strong project management skills and ability to lead a cross-function team.
Ability to lead/manage other associates.
Computer proficiency, including Microsoft Office Suite.
Strong communication, listening, collaboration, and assessment skills .
Ability to influence others and facilitate processes.
Ability to embrace change and continuous learning.

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