Have you ever considered owning a poke restaurant? Some people believe that the poke trend has peaked, but this is not true. Although some restaurants have closed their doors, others are thriving. This article will address some history about recent poke franchise opportunities and what the next steps are if you wish to own a poke restaurant.

A Brief History

In 2015, the poke craze entered the Los Angeles market. One popular poke restaurant, Spinfish, rapidly opened five locations in California and one in Indonesia. Last October, they permanently closed their Los Angeles locations. According to Eater L.A., only a few big poke players remain. Other notable closures were Chicago’s FinFin Poke and New York’s Sweetcatch Poke. Due to the history of recent closures, people are feeling uneasy about owning a poke restaurant. While the dip in the market seems significant, it is important to pay attention to what the successful, existing poke franchises are doing to stay afloat.

Corporate Locations

One common success factor between the prosperous poke restaurants is their commitment to continue opening corporate locations. When restaurant owners are willing to invest their own money into new markets, it is obvious that their business model is working for them. Pokéworks, for example, accumulates at least $12 million in annual revenue from their 19 locations. Seven of their locations are franchised, and they are planning on doubling their number of locations through additional franchising. Another success story is Sweetfin, a Los Angeles-based company that is currently not looking for franchisees. It seems that the best poke franchise opportunities come from companies that continue to invest in new corporate locations.

Steps for Owning a Poke Franchise

If you’re looking to own a poke restaurant, here are some general steps on your journey towards financial freedom:

  1. Research the key players in the market. Who are the best poke franchises? Make a list of the brands that most resonate with you.
  2. Determine if these brands are franchising. Some are looking to expand rapidly.
  3. Check your finances. Franchising opportunities have different prices, but there are common franchises fees that you should be researching. Here is a breakdown of what these fees entail:
    1. The initial fee is the price of acquiring a successful business model. This includes the branding, operations manual, and business plan.
    2. The marketing fee is usually a percentage of gross sales. This ensures that your local location as well as the national brand are both properly promoted. As new locations open throughout the country, your location will gain more authority as a successful brand. The marketing fee is a necessary aspect of maintaining your business’s long term success.
    3. The construction fee is usually where the bulk of the investment lies. This is the most variable cost depending on the cost of the location, labor, materials, and layout. If a franchisee has ties within the construction industry, they can save a pretty penny on their investment.
    4. The royalty fee is usually a percentage of your location’s gross sales. This money is distributed to the founders of the business.
    5. The operational expenses are an emergency fund of sorts; this is the money needed to operate for a few months. The money allocated in this fund will go towards costs such as rent, utilities, and labor. This fund should be enough to get your business running smoothly and start turning a profit.

If you are unable to fund this investment yourself, you can probably find another interested party who wants to own a poke restaurant. There are many loan programs for new business owners.

  1. Acquire the FDD. The franchise disclosure document gives a rundown of the business, its costs, and what is included in your investment. This document is the terms and conditions of your contract. You will have 14 days to read this over with your lawyer. If you agree with the document, simply sign the contract and begin your journey to financial freedom!

Unique Selling Points

American consumers enjoy traditional foods from other cultures. According to the Hawaii government, 6.3 million Americans flew in from the continental US in 2018. Biz Journal states that a record number of 10 million visitors came to Hawaii in 2018. It is clear that continental Americans enjoy Hawaiian culture and are intrigued by daily life on the islands. This statistic helps illustrate the financial opportunity of owning a poke restaurant. Consumers will no longer have to fly to Hawaii to experience its cuisine.

Uncle Sharkii brings Hawaii to the mainland by paying homage to poke’s traditional Hawaiian form. Poke originated in Hawaii and consisted of raw tuna, rice, candlenut, seaweed, and limu. Uncle Sharkii maintains the integrity of the dish while also supplying additional fish options due to consumers’ demands. Unlike other startup costs that can be upwards of $200,000, Uncle Sharkii’s can be as low as $72,000. Their locations are currently found in mall food courts, which means that hungry shoppers can have easy access to the restaurant’s deliciously fresh fish. With two locations and five more on the way, Uncle Sharkii is a great option for those wishing to own a poke restaurant. For more information on how to accomplish this, click here to explore Uncle Sharkii’s franchising page.