Pokéworks, the nation’s largest premium poke brand, announced today a wave of new openings and multi-unit deals coming down the pipeline. At this rate, the fast-casual concept will bring its exceptionally fresh “Poke Your Way” menu into 14 new markets across the U.S.—three of which are franchise-owned locations expected to open this month.
Among the planned June openings, Pokéworks is celebrating its third Mexico-based location in Leon and a ninth Houston metro location in Rice Village with multi-unit franchisee Chris Lav, who now owns six Pokéworks restaurants across multiple regions. Additionally, in Knoxville, Tenn., the brand is opening its first Cruise-Thru model featuring a mobile order pick-up lane to streamline fulfillment of digital orders. Pokéworks will also be opening franchise locations in Nashville, midtown Manhattan’s Hudson Yards, and Southlake, Texas over the next six weeks.
With more than 60 locations on the map today, the famed “poke burrito” originator continues to garner interest from multi-unit, multi-brand franchise operators who see increased real estate and sales opportunities in both proven and untapped markets. In addition to the benefits of low overhead, premium quality food, and efficient operations, the brand’s innovative, scalable footprints (ranging from 500 – 1,500 sq. ft.) provide ample real estate opportunities for developers in urban or suburban areas. One high-performing franchisee, Sri Divel, recently signed a lease in Ladera Ranch, CA for her second Pokéworks location and reflects on her experience thus far.
“Having owned large full-service restaurants, we diversified with Pokéworks to profit from a scalable fast-casual concept,” says Divel, who alongside her husband also owns a location in Laguna Niguel, Calif. “We’ve been blown away by the Pokéworks team’s vision and strategic leadership as we add more locations to our portfolio. Plus, we’ve benefitted from the reasonable build-out costs and the brand’s easy-to-execute menu. We can’t wait to open our doors in Ladera Ranch later this summer—but it’s just the beginning of our growth journey with Pokéworks.”
The brand’s franchising momentum comes in tandem with new high-level executives leading Pokéworks’ growth strategy. In recent months, Pokéworks welcomed a number of seasoned franchise leaders to help lead the strategy for the rapid national growth ahead including Michael Walters as Chief Operating Officer, Steve Heeley as Chief Marketing Officer, and Larry Sidoti as Chief Development Officer.
“The energy at Pokéworks is contagious, and enthusiasm about our growth opportunities is certainly spreading,” says Michael Chen, Pokéworks’ president and one of its co-founders. “We came into the poke space as a disrupter and haven’t lost sight of innovation. From supporting franchisees’ development with flexible build options and simple kitchen operations to rolling out new unique menu items for guests, we’re continuing to raise the bar for ourselves and competitors. We’re thrilled our momentum has helped us attract such strong leadership partners and is sparking conversations with well-experienced operators. We look forward to welcoming more growth-minded developers to Pokéworks in the months ahead.”