In January of 2016, Pokeworks opened their first restaurant in Manhattan. The concept—an assembly-line take on poke, like a Hawaiian Chipotle—was met with rabid enthusiasm from customers and franchise investors alike, and the franchise quickly began signing new development contracts for units in markets across the U.S.
Pokeworks co-founder and Forbes 30 Under 30 honoree Peter Yang has overseen the brand’s impressive early growth. As the franchise continues to sign new development deals, Yang told 1851 Franchise that his team remains laser-focused on establishing a consistent guest experience across the system’s many stores. Yang also spoke on Pokeworks' extensive training and support programs for franchisees and the brand’s domestic and international growth prospects.
1851: How does Pokeworks stand apart from other fast-casual franchises?
Yang: Pokeworks is all about quality and fresh ingredients in every bowl or burrito we serve. We instill that idea into every aspect of our business to ensure our guests have the intended Pokeworks experience from the moment they step into our restaurant until the moment they leave. Every single sauce and ingredient has been specifically crafted to create a unique and exciting combination of flavors for our guests to enjoy. We see that as the main reason our customers continue to return to Pokeworks time and time again.
1851: What do you wish more people knew about Pokeworks?
Yang: Pokeworks is the fastest growing poke restaurant both across the U.S. and internationally. We currently have more than 100 committed locations, and we anticipate many more in the coming months and years.
1851: What qualities make for a great Pokeworks franchisee?
Yang: Along with our comprehensive franchisee training at our headquarters in Irvine, California, we have dedicated teams to support our franchisee on-boarding, development, opening and ongoing operations. We are looking for franchisees who can meet our financial requirements and can comfortably manage our operational model. We treat each franchisee as one of our own corporate stores, so our support is always available to help franchisees succeed.
1851: As Pokeworks has grown, what cues has it taken from other businesses and franchises?
Yang: In addition to the Pokeworks management team and operations group, we work with a group of strategic partners on the development, marketing and operations sides in order to grow and properly support each of our stores. We are inspired by other brands in the industry who have shown a movement toward sustainability and healthy eating and living. At Pokeworks, that’s not only our mission for our guests but for our entire company as well.
1851: What kind of growth plans does Pokeworks have for 2018 and beyond?
Yang: We are growing into every major marketing in the U.S., but we are also focused on international expansion. We have contracts for new units opening through 2020, and we are finding new development deals every day.