PETER YANG
CO-FOUNDER OF POKÉWORKS
Food has always been a big part of Peter Yang’s life. Since coming to the U.S. at the age of six, some of his earliest memories are family dinners with critical conversations about food. Now, at 30, Peter is one of the founders of Pokeworks, bringing people together with food, coast to coast.

 

It was a trip to Hawaii in 2013 that inspired the chain restaurant.“After a long day we went to the grocery markets and we had poke by the pound. Along with rice and taro chips, it was a relatively healthy meal. It always hit the spot for me [and] was craveable.” That trip sparked conversations, followed by meetings, which led to the concept of Pokeworks – a healthy, quick, quality dinner option in a fast format.

 

Once the idea was set, Peter and his partners went big, signing leases in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York. When the New York location opened with five employees, it was struggling early on. “[The food is] Hawaiian-inspired but has our own twist to it.” Educating people that first month was difficult.

 

Along came some good PR and business quadrupled overnight. “We were serving 1,000 people a day out of a 750 square foot space.” Concerned about speed and quality, Peter would stand behind each kitchen position with a stopwatch to determine the most efficient motions. “We literally had days to figure all that out because the line was building and it was make or break. We spent endless hours investigating it.”=
"It’s all about that first step, and a small step a day can take you to wonderful places."

Along came some good PR and business quadrupled overnight. “We were serving 1,000 people a day out of a 750 square foot space.” Concerned about speed and quality, Peter would stand behind each kitchen position with a stopwatchto determine the most efficient motions.“We literally had days to figure all that out because the line was building and it was make or break. We spent endless hours investigating it.”

 

Currently, Pokeworks staffs almost 400, with 20 locations open, 20 under construction, and 100 locations signed to open by end of 2020…just two-and-a-half years afterthe first doors were opened. “I’m very proud to say that a lot of people love our product, and that’s cool. To create something and [to get] that positive feedback, that’s awesome and what we’re all about. We’re always trying to improve, to provide the best product and experience for our guests.”

 

For now, Peter is focused on the success of Pokeworks. He and his co-founders had an ambitious idea and have advice for others chasing big dreams. “Get out there and do it. I think a lot of people [are] dreaming and thinking about this great big picture and it’s daunting. They are intimidated by a huge thing. They love thinking about it, but how to get there—that scares them, and that prevents that first step. It’s all about that first step, and a small step a day can take you to wonderful places.”

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