Oct 16, 2020, 11:07 ET
IRVINE, Calif., Oct. 16, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Pokeworks, the nation's largest and fastest-growing poke franchise, is reporting impressive growth in 2020 having opened 10 new locations since the start of the year, a 20% unit growth from previous year. On top of expansion, the brand has honed in on innovation and optimization of its digital and in-store experience to better serve the shifting consumer lifestyles, while maintaining profitability for franchisees.
Pokeworks originated as a takeout concept when it's very first location opened in the heart of Manhattan. So, at the start of the pandemic, the Hawaiian-inspired poke concept was quick to go back to its roots, closing its dining rooms to focus strictly on delivery and takeout before state regulations required it. Then, the brand got to work on innovation and is actively working on the following initiatives:
- Opening Ghost Kitchens: In partnership with Epic Kitchens, Pokeworks opened its first franchised Ghost Kitchen in Chicago to bring fresh, flavorful Hawaiian-inspired cuisine to high-population areas. The brand has plans to continue expanding its ghost kitchen footprint nationwide.
- Testing a "Cruise-Thru™" Lane: For customers on-the-go, Pokeworks is rolling out its first mobile order pick-up lane in Knoxville, TN. Customers will be able to order ahead online and pickup without ever leaving their vehicles. The brand plans to roll out the concept to its broader network next year.
- Sustainable Packaging: One of Pokeworks' core promises to its customers is sustainability. While packaging for its flavorful poke bowls are already eco-friendly, the brand is actively working on redesigning packaging to be more sustainable and to better serve takeout and delivery orders by separating rice from the rest of a bowl's toppings. The brand has plans to roll out this new packaging early next year.
- Making App-User Experience Enhancements: Mobile and app ordering is here to stay. In addition to the brand's existing app and providing updates to increase engagement and elevating the consumer experience, Pokeworks is also in the process of rolling out in-app delivery, in addition to its third-party delivery offering.
- Reducing Costs & Improving Profitability for Franchisees: Throughout the pandemic, Pokeworks refined its menu to offer customers the Hawaiian-inspired cuisine they love while maintaining profitability for franchisees. In addition to menu shifts, the brand refined its restaurant buildout process, reducing buildout costs by 14% for new franchisees – making the brand a low-investment, profitable option for partners.
In addition to innovative operational changes, the brand is on track for record growth this year. Pokeworks is slated to open an additional four locations in Q4 2020 across the West and Midwest regions, including an international location in San Luis Potosi, Mexico.
"In a time of uncertainty, Pokeworks worked quickly and efficiently to give our customers peace-of-mind knowing that they could get their favorite fresh, high-quality poke bowls as safely as possible," said Peter Yang, Chief Development Officer and Co-Founder of Pokeworks. "Safe service and the customer experience have been a primary driver in our strategy, and we are humbled to see all of our work paying off as loyal customers and new guests continue to seek out and visit our restaurants. We are extremely grateful to our corporate staff and local franchise owners for their support and commitment to Pokeworks' continued growth, and look forward to serving our communities for years to come."
In addition to its commitment to customers and its franchisees, the brand's leaders also wanted to give back to the community. After recognizing the scarcity of PPE materials, such as masks, gloves, gowns, face shields, etc. at the start of the pandemic, Pokeworks' leadership stepped up to social responsibility to round up funds and materials to help offset the need. Through its GoFundMe campaign, the brand was able to provide more than 170,000 masks, gowns, face shields, and other PPE and raised more than $150,000 for over 115 frontline organizations.
"The lack of PPE materials was at the forefront of the global conversation when the pandemic first surfaced. At Pokeworks, one of our core values is "Practice Aloha" -- meaning we try to spread love, kindness and compassion wherever we can," said Mike Chen, President and Co-Founder of Pokeworks, who spear-headed the fundraising efforts with his wife. "We spent many late-nights creating ways to get the needed materials over to the states quickly, and the result continues to be extremely rewarding."
Pokeworks is taking enhanced precautions to ensure the safety of its guests and team members based on recommendations from the National Restaurant Association (NRA), and the CDC. Pokeworks is offering curbside delivery and pickup, while its dining rooms remain closed. For a full list of safety protocols, visit: www.pokeworks.com/safetysteps.
Founded in 2015, Pokeworks is building on momentum largely fueled by its millennial relevance and deep-rooted commitment to sustainability efforts and has grown to 54 locations open across the United States. Pokeworks is actively seeking multi-unit franchise partners to join its team of highly ambitious and hardworking entrepreneurs. The average investment for a Pokeworks is $260,000 to $660,000. For more information about the Pokeworks franchise opportunity, please visit www.pokeworks.com/franchise.
Founded in 2015, Pokeworks is one of the nation's largest and fastest-growing poke brands in North America with 54 locations open and more than 130 under development. Offering guests an authentic taste of the islands, Pokeworks provides a fresh take on Hawaiian-inspired poke burritos, bowls and salads derived from the highest quality ingredients from local waters. The brand's unique menu allows for complete customization to cater to almost anyone, including those maintaining gluten-free, nut-free, vegetarian, vegan as well as cooked or raw protein diets. For more information about Pokeworks, visit https://www.pokeworks.com/.
Media Contact: Gianna D'Argento, Fishman Public Relations, 847-945-1300 or [email protected]
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