Pokeworks Primed to Expand as Top Quick-Service Brand
The nation’s largest and fastest-growing premium poke brand, Pokeworks, continues to raise the bar due to its constant innovation. The Southern California-based poke pioneer and quick-service brand aims to expand its nationwide presence with a highly refined game plan for major market franchise growth.
“We are always thinking about what we can do to get better and how we can enhance and strengthen the unit level economics,” says Larry Sidoti, chief development officer of Pokeworks.
Sidoti is part of a seasoned executive management team, who has been busy refining the brand’s infrastructure for scalability with next-level systems and franchisee support for the ground-breaking healthy Hawaiian-inspired chain.
“The drive is to find opportunities for improvement in all facets of the business with a focus on operational and marketing franchise support and shortening the ROI timeline,” says Sidoti. “We are building an infrastructure that no one in the category can touch. We want our system to provide the strongest and best-in-class support to serve our franchise partners from day one.”
Initially founded as a tiny grab-n-go and delivery location in Midtown Manhattan in 2015, Pokeworks continues to lead the way for the Hawaiian-inspired poke segment that is estimated to surpass $580 million in 2021—and growing—thanks to the surging demand of hungry, health-conscious diners.
Innovation remains at the core of the success of Pokeworks, which has 64 locations and at least 75 restaurants slated to open by year-end 2022.
Pokeworks is a chef-driven, completely customizable menu (Poke Your Way) continues to evolve with a fresh, fast and sustainable take on Hawaiian-inspired poke burritos, bowls, and salads using the highest quality ingredients.
Franchise partners are drawn to low overhead, simple and efficient operations, premium quality food, and a flexible footprint. Plus, Pokeworks’ affordable, uncluttered, and cohesive restaurant design only requires 1,200 to 1,500 square feet of space. The brand is also testing its first “Cruise-Thru™” lane featuring a pickup window for mobile and delivery orders only, expanding franchisees’ build-out and real estate options.
“Even though we’re in the fast-casual space, we don’t have to cook, eliminating the need for hoods, fryers, or grills. That means our equipment package costs, by comparison, are at the lower end of the scale,” Sidoti explains. “We are an attractive option for landlords because of our flexibility and quick and easy conversions.
Development has been fast and furious with new franchisees and existing partners like multi-unit franchise partner Jason Sugarman, who plans to open eight additional locations throughout the Greater Boston region.
“I fell in love with the brand immediately. The healthy-meets-tasty menu options and sleek design stuck out as differentiators,” says Sugarman. “Since joining in 2018, We knew we wanted to continue growing with Pokeworks. Now with five locations under our belt and most locations doing around $1.7 million in sales, we still have a tremendous opportunity to grow throughout the Boston DMA, including in college towns and high-traffic tourist areas. This is especially true given the simple business model and flexible footprint.”
As Pokeworks builds momentum heading into 2022, the brand is currently targeting its restaurant growth efforts throughout California, New York, Florida, and major urban areas like Dallas and Chicago. Sidoti seeks to partner with multi-brand operators and business “leaders” looking for a “tremendous business model and a tremendous business opportunity” with a brand you can count on for sustained success.
“We work very closely with our franchisees on everything from onboarding into the system, to site selection, lease negotiation, restaurant design and construction, guiding them every step of the way in operations,” says Sidoti. “With an experienced and seasoned leadership team and a strong support team, Pokeworks is well positioned to not only dominate the poke space but emerge as the category killer.
Learn more at pokeworks.com/franchise.
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