Franchise News

Pokeworks Expands as Consumer Appetite for Hawaiian-Inspired Poke Grows

Expansion of Nation’s Leading Poke Franchise a Sign of Rising Poke Trend

IRVINE, Calif. (August 1, 2019) – Consumer obsession with poke bowls continues to climb and shows no signs of slowing. Pokéworks – one of the nation’s largest and fastest-growing poke franchises – remains the category’s front-running, 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 Pokeworks:

  • 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. 7out 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. The opportunity provides comprehensive training programs and dedicated support teams to assist in on-boarding, development, opening and ongoing operations. The initial franchise fee for Pokéworks is $35,000 with the total single-unit investment ranging from $250,000 to $850,000.

“Our proven franchise model, brand mission and values as well as the high-demand for poke globally has primed Pokéworks for tremendous growth and in 2019 we are committed to finding the right franchise partners worldwide to continue driving the brand forward,” Wu said.

About Pokéworks:

Founded in 2015, Pokéworks is one of the nation’s largest and fastest-growing poke brands in North America with 46 locations open and more than 130 under development. Offering guests an authentic taste of the islands, Pokéworks in collaboration with Bravo’s Top Chef Sheldon Simeon, provides a fresh take on Hawaiian-inspired poke burritos, bowls and salads derived from the highest quality ingredients from local waters. The brand’s chef-driven 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 the franchise opportunity, visit

Franchisor Community Events



Loews Hotel Philadelphia

September 27-29, 2023



Chicago Athletic Association Hotel

May 10-12, 2023



Newpark Resort

March 22-24, 2023