Aloha Poke Co. announced that it has reached a major milestone in signing its first franchise agreement. Coming less than a half-year since launching its franchise growth initiative, the company has inked a multi-unit agreement with Baryalay “Razi” Razi who has more than 20 years of restaurant operations and ownership experience. Razi builds upon his restaurant portfolio, which already includes five Bojangles’, as he plans to open three Aloha Poke locations in Maryland’s Washington, D.C. suburbs.

“I am confident that the concept will stand alone in our market. We make it easy to get fresh, sashimi-grade fish in our tasty bowls. That’s a big reason why the brand is positioned to be a hit in D.C. Metro Maryland,” says Razi, who also lives in the area. “I’ve seen the restaurant industry from several perspectives, as a location manager, regional head of operations and as an owner/operator. There’s nothing like Aloha Poke. It will be received extremely well in the communities where we plan to open.”

Razi’s more than two decades of experience in restaurant operations and management include a long tenure with Whataburger. Starting his career as an assistant manager, Razi worked his way up to director of operations for two of the largest markets in Texas. He now owns five Bojangles’ Famous Chicken ‘n Biscuits locations in Maryland.

“Razi is precisely the type of entrepreneur we want to grow our brand – he checks all the boxes,” adds Chris Birkinshaw, CEO of Aloha Poke Co. “Since getting to know him in recent months, I have truly enjoyed collaborating with him and seeing firsthand how committed he is to operating at the highest level. Razi’s life story, restaurant career, and path to entrepreneurship are an inspiration to me. He is a great ambassador for Aloha Poke.”

The brand’s new franchises entering the Maryland suburbs will join two of the area’s existing highly-trafficked locations in D.C. proper – one at Union Station and the other in Dupont Circle. Serving as a healthier alternative to the usual sandwich, burger or pizza options by combining superfoods with super good vibes, Aloha Poke offers sustainably-sourced, line-caught wild ahi tuna, Patagonian salmon raised without antibiotics, cage-free sous vide chicken, shrimp and tofu. Chef-inspired house creations include the Ahi Tuna Crunch Bowl, Aloha Bowl and the Volcano Bowl, or customers can choose the fully-customizable pack your own bowl (P.Y.O.B) option with endless personalized combinations.

Today’s consumers are choosing better-for-you meals that are made with fresh ingredients, which Aloha Poke offers through its menu catering to a wide array of diets and lifestyles, including gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian and paleo options.

Based in Chicago, Aloha Poke currently has 18 locations in Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Florida and Washington, D.C. In addition to the brand’s health-forward menu and simplified operations, franchise restaurant investors such as Razi have been compelled to take interest in Aloha Poke because of its attractive initial capital requirements, unit economics and appealing sales-to-investment figures.

Aloha Poke is actively seeking to grow its exciting health-forward, fast casual concept with qualified entrepreneurs and experienced restaurant franchisees who share the brand’s same passion and energy for life. Ideal Aloha Poke franchisees have restaurant operations or business management experience, and share the desire to positively impact the country’s need for quick, healthier food options.

Emerging Concepts, Fast Casual, Franchising, News