INTERNATIONAL | Staff Reporter, Japan

Japan's Toridoll Holdings Corp joins forces with Pokéworks poke brand

The agreement seeks to propel the global expansion of Pokéworks.

The global restaurant investment powerhouse Toridoll inked a deal Pokéworks, one of the U.S’s largest and fastest-growing poke brands, in a bid to accelerate the poke brand’s market dominance and establish a global network.

Toridoll Holdings currently operates 1,028 restaurant locations in Japan and 533 overseas, including the Hawaiian udon restaurant Marugame Seimen. The $1.6 billion-holding company has identified “the Pokéworks investment opportunity as a means to further accelerate the brand's market dominance while setting the bar for quality standards within the poke segment”.

The announcement comes just two years since Pokéworks' inception. The brand has seen an aggressive growth trajectory in that time, with nearly 20 locations operating and more than 120 under development across North America. Pokéworks aims to open an additional 400+ locations.

"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.

"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's business model by leveraging its expertise in investing and operations through experience working with a diverse range of restaurant businesses within its global network.

Heightened by the popularity of the poke trend – which has reached an annual growth rate of 25 percent and growing – Pokéworks looks to strengthen its procedures and propel operations from an execution standpoint, by placing a strong focus on higher standards to ensure a trusted and an authentic experience throughout its momentous growth.

"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.

"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."

Founded in 2015 with their first store in Midtown Manhattan, Pokéworks is building on momentum largely fueled by its millennial relevance and deep-rooted commitment to sustainability efforts as seen through its certified reclaimed wood building material. Guests of all dietary restrictions, including those maintaining gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan, as well as cooked or raw protein diets can enjoy Pokéworks' build-your-own poke bowls, burritos and salads by selecting a base protein, unique regional mix-ins, flavoring sauces, toppings and crunchy texture.

To augment the concept's growth, 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.

Founded in 1990, Toridoll Holdings Corporation is headquartered in Tokyo, Japan and operates over 1500+ locations of restaurants which include: Marugame Seimen, a specialized Sanuki Udon restaurant; Toridoll Yakitori, a charcoal grilled chicken restaurant; teriyaki Japan, a fast-food restaurant; Crackin' Kitchen, a Hawaiian-Cajun restaurant; Tokyo Table, which serves Japanese and American food; Kaya, a fast-casual restaurant serving food cooked with selected ingredients in South-East Asian style; and Wok to Walk that serves Thai street food.

(Photo credit: Pokéworks Facebook page)

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