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- 2021 Franchise 500 Rank
#272 Not ranked last year
- Initial investment
$259K - $659K
- Units as of 2021
59 195.0% over 3 years
More from Pokeworks
Founded in late December of 2015 in a tiny grab-n-go and delivery location in Midtown Manhattan, Pokéworks® has quickly established itself as the nation’s largest and fastest growing poke franchise, the pioneers of the poke burrito and a leader in innovation within the restaurant franchise industry with a focus on fresh, quality, delicious food.
From the beginning, Pokéworks attracted huge consumer and industry attention when hundreds stood in line willing to wait 45 minutes or more to build their own poke burrito or bowl. While countless New Yorkers were enjoying poke per day, one outlet created a short video “The ‘Sushi Burrito’ has hit NYC and it's amazing.” That video went viral and has received more than 52 million views.
After intelligent growth comprised almost entirely of multi-unit institutional franchisees, Pokéworks joined forces with Toridoll Holdings Corporation in 2018. The agreement with the $1.6 billion publicly traded 1,740+ location restaurant giant (TYO:3397) allowed the brand to leverage Toridoll’s considerable expertise in global brand development while maintaining highly effective founder-led focus and control.
Today, Pokéworks continues to gain recognition from reputable restaurant media. The brand recently earned a top-five ranking in Restaurant Business’s 2021 Future 50 list, and is currently the only poke franchise to make the 2021 Entrepreneur® Franchise 500® list. Additionally, Pokéworks appears on the QSR Future 50 ranking and made the Fast Casual Movers and Shakers list for the third consecutive year.
“The energy at Pokéworks is contagious, and enthusiasm about our growth opportunities is certainly spreading,” said Michael Chen, Pokéworks’ president and one of its co-founders. “We came into the poke space as a disrupter and haven’t lost sight of innovation. From supporting franchisees’ development with flexible build options and simple kitchen operations to rolling out new unique menu items for guests, we’re continuing to raise the bar for ourselves and competitors. We’re thrilled our momentum has helped us attract such strong leadership partners and is sparking conversations with well-experienced operators. We look forward to welcoming more growth-minded developers to Pokéworks in the months ahead.”
Our Menu & Operations
Efficient operations and a flexible footprint assist franchisees in providing streamlined, exceptional service every time. Pokéworks has created an inexpensive and uncluttered cohesive restaurant design that averages 1,250 square feet but can range in size from 500 to 2,000 square feet.
The Hawaiian fusion menu caters to anyone with various dietary restrictions, including those maintaining gluten-free, nut-free, vegetarian, vegan and cooked or raw protein diets. Consensus is the Pokéworks consumer appeal is fueled by the exceptional quality, consistency and affordability of our healthy and diverse chef-driven menu. Restaurateurs on the other hand, marvel at the ease of execution, menu flexibility as well as the simplicity of Pokéworks kitchens.
The Pokéworks franchise opportunity also comes with unmatched corporate support from experienced restaurant franchise experts. The leadership team is accessible and driven by shared core values.
The brand’s franchising momentum comes in tandem with both highly-involved founders and high-level expert executives leading Pokéworks’ growth strategy. Pokéworks continues to welcome a number of seasoned franchise leaders to help lead the strategy for the rapid national growth ahead.
Other support elements include:
- Cost-free project funding review by industry experts
- National site selection and lease negotiation
- Award-winning environmentally friendly design
- National construction management support
- Comprehensive 3-week initial training
- Operative POS, scheduling, and inventory control systems
- National purchasing and procurement program
- Grand Opening marketing and event planning
Business development support:
- Online 3rd Party Delivery ordering and management technology
- Pokéworks' own mobile loyalty app with ordering technology
- Traditional and digital internet advertising initiatives
- Strong social media programming and guidance
- Local and brand centric public relations assistance
- High-profile contributing chef menu development
- Innovative and effective marketing initiatives
- Community fundraisers and campaigning efforts
- Exceptional fresh, sustainable seafood supplier
Our Ideal Candidate
With more than 60 locations on the map today, the famed “poke burrito” originator continues to garner interest from multi-unit, multi-brand franchise operators who see increased real estate and sales opportunities in both proven and untapped markets.
“Having owned large full-service restaurants, we diversified with Pokéworks to profit from a scalable fast-casual concept,” said multi-unit franchisee Sri Divel, who alongside her husband also owns a location in Laguna Niguel, Calif. and is signed on to open at least two others. “We’ve been blown away by the Pokéworks team’s vision and strategic leadership as we add more locations to our portfolio. Plus, we’ve benefitted from the reasonable build-out costs and the brand’s easy-to-execute menu. We can’t wait to open our doors in Ladera Ranch later this summer—but it’s just the beginning of our growth journey with Pokéworks.”
Ideal North American candidates have 5+ years of food and beverage management experience and a minimum of $250,000 in available capital for each restaurant they wish to develop. Multi-unit location development is preferred (not required) for primary and secondary markets. Single unit development is a consideration in smaller thriving markets in North America. Pokéworks also welcomes multi-unit international master franchise development with well-funded, experienced restaurant groups that have a familiarity with their region.
If you would like to join other highly accomplished multi-unit franchise owners in one of the most notable healthy, fast-casual restaurant franchises in modern memory, we welcome your inquiry. We will be happy to address your initial questions and explore available opportunities in your market.
- Franchising Since
- 2016 (5 years)
- # of employees at HQ
- Where seeking
This company is seeking new franchisees in the following US states: Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Wyoming
- # of Units
- 59 (as of 2021)
Information for Franchisees
Here’s what you need to know if you’re interested in opening a Pokeworks franchise.
Financial Requirements & Ongoing Fees
Here’s what you can expect to spend to start the business and what ongoing fees the franchisor charges throughout the life of the business.
- Initial Franchise Fee
Definition: The initial fee paid to a franchisor to join their system
What you need to know: Found in Item 5 of the FDD, this may be a flat fee, or may vary based on territory size, experience, or other factors.The franchise fee is an up-front (one-time) cost that a new franchisee pays to the franchisor. This fee is usually due at the signing of the franchise agreement and covers the right to use the franchisor's trademarks, name, and related business systems.
- Initial Investment
- $259,000 - $658,500
Definition: The total amount necessary to begin operation of the franchise
What you need to know: The initial investment includes the franchise fee, along with other startup expenses such as real estate, equipment, supplies, business licenses, and working capital. This is outlined in a chart in Item 7 of the FDD, showing a range of possible costs from low to high.
- Net Worth Requirement
Definition: The minimum net worth you must have in order to qualify to become a franchisee of this company
What you need to know: Net worth is the value of a person's assets minus liabilities. Assets include cash, stocks, retirement accounts, and real estate. Liabilities include items like mortgages, car payments, and credit card debt.
- Cash Requirement
Definition: The minimum liquid capital you must have available in order to qualify to become a franchisee of this company.
- Veteran Incentives
- 25% off franchise fee
Definition: A discount or other incentive offered to military veterans who buy a franchise with this company.
- Royalty Fee
Definition: A ongoing fee paid to the franchisor on a regular basis.
What you need to know: Most franchisors require franchisees to pay an ongoing royalty fee, which is detailed in Item 6 of the FDD. This fee is typically a percentage of weekly or monthly gross sales, but may also be a flat weekly, monthly, or annual fee.
- Ad Royalty Fee
Definition: An going fee paid to the franchisor on a regular basis to support advertising or marketing efforts.
What you need to know: This may also be called advertising fee, marketing fee, brand fund fee, and more, but the basic purpose is the same-- to support promotion of the brand systemwide. As with the royalty fee, it is detailed in Item 6 of the FDD, and can be a percentage of weekly or monthly gross sales or a weekly, monthly, or annual fee.
- Term of Agreement
- 10 years
Definition: The length of time your franchise agreement will last.
What you need to know: Franchise terms are typically anywhere from 5 to 20 years in length, but are sometimes instead dependent on factors such as the term of your lease. Once your term is up, you may have the option to renew your agreement, typically for a smaller fee than the original franchise fee.
- Is franchise term renewable?
Training & Support Offered
Franchisors offer initial training programs and a variety of ongoing support options to help franchisees run their businesses.
- On-The-Job Training
- 170 hours
- Classroom Training
- 24 hours
- Additional Training
- At training center
- Ongoing Support
NewsletterMeetings & ConventionsGrand OpeningOnline SupportSecurity & Safety ProceduresLease NegotiationField OperationsSite SelectionFranchisee Intranet Platform
- Marketing Support
Co-op AdvertisingAd TemplatesNational MediaRegional AdvertisingSocial MediaSEOWebsite DevelopmentEmail MarketingLoyalty Program/App
Additional details about running this franchise.
- Is absentee ownership allowed?
Definition: Absentee ownership means that the franchisee does not actively work in the franchise business or manage day-to-day operations.
- Can this franchise be run from home/mobile unit?
Definition: The business can be run from your home and/or a vehicle, and it is not necessary to have a retail facility, office space, or warehouse.
- Can this franchise be run part time?
Definition: This business can be run by the owner on a part-time basis (less than 40 hours per week) and/or as a side business; it is not necessary for the business to be open/run full-time.
- # of employees required to run
- Are exclusive territories available?
Definition: An exclusive territory is a fixed area in which you are given the right to operate and in which no other units of the same franchise may be opened.
What you need to know: Territory size may be based on factors such as radius, population size, zip codes, and more. Details can be found in Item 12 of the FDD.
Franchise 500 Ranking History
Compare where Pokeworks landed on this year’s Franchise 500 Ranking versus previous years.
Curious to know where Pokeworks ranked on other franchise lists? Find out below.
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