Hawaiian-Inspired Pokéworks Grows with Rising Consumer Appetites for Healthy Eats


According to a number of food pundits, consumer obsession with poke bowls continues to climb and shows no signs of slowing.

Enter Pokéworks – one of the nation’s largest and fastest-growing poke franchises – which remains a front-running position in the fast-casual poke brand, with its growth in 2018 and the first half of 2019 a reflection of the nation’s insatiable desire for healthy, sustainable eating options.

Since poke requires lower startup costs compared to other fast-casual options (as there are no hood requirements and it does not require investment in deep fryers), Pokéworks’ simple, smaller footprint kitchen and easy-to-execute menu make it an appealing investment for multi-brand franchisees seeking to expand their portfolio.  

“The poke trend is at an all-time high right now with an annual growth rate of 25 percent. The trend will only continue to explode as more consumers turn to fresh, sustainable food options that fuel a healthy lifestyle,” said Michael Wu, CEO of Pokéworks.

Below are a few highlights indicating a solid footing and positive outlook for Pokéworks:  

  • In 2018, Pokéworks reached its 40th restaurant milestone, more than doubling the brand’s national footprint, since launching its franchise opportunity in 2016. 
  • The brand has a total of 180+ new Pokéworks locations in the pipeline – putting the brand on track to meet its goal of opening more than 100 units by 2020.  Some of the new franchise agreements are in new, dynamic markets such as San Francisco, Washington DC, and Nashville.  
  • Last summer, Pokéworks joined forces with Toridoll Holdings Corporation, a $1.6 billion Tokyo-based restaurant giant, allowing the brand to leverage Toridoll’s expertise in investing and operations and place strong focus on high standards and authentic guest experiences. 
  • Pokéworks signed its first international franchise agreement – a master deal in Mexico with restaurant investment group OPERADORA RAU of Credian, a prominent global financial institution. The agreement targets emerging cities such as San Luis Potosi, Monterrey, Ciudad de Mexico, Guadalajara and the Bajio region of West North-Central Mexico. 

Because of the company’s positive growth and outlook, Pokéworks was recently named one of Entrepreneur’s Top Food Franchises of 2019, ranking No. 7 out of the list containing 200 food concepts. The list evaluates franchises based on costs and fees, size and growth, franchisee support, brand strength and financial strength and stability. 

The brand also took the No. 2 spot on Fast Casual’s Top 100 Movers and Shakers, which recognizes and celebrates brands that go above and beyond positive sales, emphasizing employee training, quality ingredients, technology upgrades, brand culture and a passion for giving back.

In 2019, Pokéworks plans to open 30 locations and is targeting high-growth markets like Miami, Austin, and Atlanta. To reach the goal of opening 100 locations by 2020, Pokéworks is seeking experienced multi-unit partners looking to invest in a turnkey franchise with minimal restaurant and labor costs.