Pokeworks Plans Expansion in 2024

Pokeworks photo outside of storefront

IRVINE, Calif. — After a year with continued expansion, new menu items and industry awards, Pokeworks plans to accelerate its growth in 2024 across North America.

The brand opened a total of nine new locations in 2023, including the first Pokeworks in Canada. The year was full of menu innovations and limited-time specials, including the exclusive Luxe Lobster bowl. Pokeworks was the first poke chain to introduce lobster to the menu. The brand also tested out plant-based, raw sushi-grade tuna, made from a combination of soy protein and seaweed with an umami taste.

Looking ahead, Pokeworks plans to start with an additional 12 locations. The company has new franchisees signed for southern California, and there are new restaurants coming to New York and the Toronto area, with possible locations in the pipeline for Houston, Atlanta, Michigan and more. This expansion will increase the brand’s total to more than 85 restaurants by the year’s end, and within the next 30 to 36 months, the brand expects to have more than 120 locations.

In the Pokeworks executive suite, original co-founders Mike Chen, Peter Yang, Mike Wu and Kasper Hsu will be returning to an active, everyday role in the company’s operations moving forward.

“We’re all excited to roll up our sleeves and dive back into the day-to-day operations of the brand we started and love so much,” says Chen. “Pokeworks was created out of a passion for sharing a love of delicious and healthy food. Our entire team has worked hard to become the number-1 poke brand in the country, and in 2024, we’re going full speed ahead.” 

Furthermore, the company recently promoted franchise industry veteran Diego Ortiz to head of Operations and welcome e-commerce expert Ha Ly as head of Marketing. Also, after starting as the first employee at the Bryant Park, N.Y. location, Lelin Kandel has risen through the ranks to senior Operations manager over the years. This year, he will take on the role of owner, with plans to open his first Pokeworks location on Long Island.

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