Pokeworks, the world’s leading fast casual poke brand, announces global expansion moves in Canada and Taiwan. The brand recently signed a master franchise agreement for 50-units in territories across Canada and opened a location in Taipei, Taiwan in March. With this recent expansion, the brand’s international presence has grown to three countries – Canada, Taiwan, and 3 existing stores in Mexico. This news comes after a successful first quarter for the brand, which included the rollout of new digital tools for consumers, additions to the leadership team and continued menu innovation. Pokeworks is now poised to be the leading poke brand in North America and has a foothold in Asia.
The Canadian development agreement is with master franchise group Eat Up Canada Inc., which is led by co-founders George Heos and Alex Gerzon. Heos brings over 25 years of restaurant industry experience in Canada and Gerzon has been working with leading restaurant brands in Canada for more than three decades. The pair plans to begin development within the greater Toronto area, slating the first opening before the end of 2022. Their goal is to bring all 50 locations to Canada over the next 10 years.
Heading up the Taiwan location is Next Level Dining, a Taiwan-based company that shares Pokeworks value of premium quality ingredients and the vision to bring American-style poke to Asia. Pokeworks believes there is significant growth potential in Asia.
“Our vision is to be the leading premium fast casual Poke brand in the world,” says Steve Heeley, CEO at Pokeworks. “Our partnerships in Mexico, Canada, and Taiwan are clear steps in realizing our vision. We have substantial interest from partners for international expansion which is thrilling, but we’re very selective in choosing whom to partner with. Both Eat Up Canada and Next Level Dining are experienced, proven operators with deep knowledge of their markets. The Taiwan dining scene values high quality raw fish, making our product the perfect fit to successfully introduce poke there. Additionally, Pokeworks’ current presence south of the U.S. has done well since our first Mexico opening in 2019, and we were ready to expand to Canada, offering vast potential for rapid development.”
The poke industry is experiencing massive growth, with the market share expected to rise by over $780 million by 2026. With worldwide consumer demand, now is the prime time for international development as Pokeworks seizes the lead to bring their premium brand experience to other countries. Poke has now gone global, having carved a clear category in the fast casual space. Pokeworks plans to bring their unique, super premium Poke Your Way experience to consumers everywhere in the US and around the globe.
“Our reputation as ‘the leading fast casual poke brand’ comes with high expectations that we aim to meet and exceed,” says Heeley. “We firmly believe that part of the role of being an industry leader is to expand globally. That expansion planning involves choosing operators who share our vision and commitment to quality poke, and groups like Next Level Dining and Eat Up Canada are the perfect fit to help us build the brand’s presence around the world while we still charge forward in the U.S.”