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Pokéworks Gets Investment From Tokyo-Based Toridoll


In the race for raw fish dominance, Pokéworks looks to capture the lead, securing an investment from Toridoll Holdings Corp. in Japan to boost growth.

Already one of the larger build-your-own poké bowl franchises in the country, with locations in 20 major markets and 100-plus restaurants in development, the investment by Toridoll positions Pokéworks to maintain its founder-led focus while also solidifying the brand’s position as a leader in the segment, the company said. A $1.6 billion holding company based in Tokyo, Toridoll operates more than 1,500 restaurant locations in Japan and throughout the world, including Hawaiian udon restaurant Marugame Seimen.

“Pokéworks was founded on the idea of bringing high-quality and affordable seafood to the masses and this agreement will no doubt enable us to achieve our long-term vision for the brand and the concept,” said Michael Wu, CEO of Pokéworks who co-founded the brand in 2015 with Peter Yang, Kevin Hsu and Kasper Hsu. “It is no secret that Japan is globally recognized as the leaders in fresh and superior sushi cuisine, and we cannot think of a more sophisticated establishment to partner and further align our values with as we continue to grow.”

Toridoll Holdings plans to support the fast expansion of the brand by leveraging the expertise in investing and operations it’s gleaned from years of experience working with a range of restaurant businesses on a global level. As it continues to scale up, Pokéworks wants to “strengthen its procedures and propel operations from an execution standpoint,” the company said, something it will do by focusing on higher standards and creating an authentic experience.

“In this emerging market, Pokéworks has become a great success by appealing to the demand for fresh, fast and healthy food at affordable prices,” said Takaya Awata, president of Toridoll Holdings, in an announcement of the deal. “We are excited to work in tandem with one of the largest and fastest growing poke brands in the United States—where the hottest global trends in the restaurant business emerge.”

For a look at four other young poké franchises, check out this FT roundup

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Tom KaiserTom Kaiser is senior editor of Franchise Times. He can be reached at 612.767.3209, or send story ideas to tkaiser@franchisetimes.com.
Beth EwenBeth Ewen is senior editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3212, or send story ideas to bewen@franchisetimes.com.
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