Island Poké, a leading UK poké bowl restaurant operator, reports that it has signed its first two UK franchisees which will bring a development pipeline of 23 stores over the next five years, trebling its current UK footprint.
The agreements have been announced following a recent investment from Hero Brands and will create in the region of 350 jobs.
The development plan will initially focus on London with the first franchise store in Camden Market. Island Poké adds that discussions are also underway with further partners which have the potential for a further 50 outlets across the UK.
Island Poké says that it is known for its innovative menus, energetic service and interiors that evoke feelings of the Pacific shores and its founder, James Gould-Porter, saw the opportunity for a vibrant, healthy and interactive grab and go concept.
Having developed a loyal following particularly amongst office workers looking for lunch alternatives to the mainstream sandwich, Island Poké explains that the new agreement will see the brand move into more residential areas as working patterns change due to the pandemic.
Gould-Porter commented: “We’re so excited to be announcing our first two franchise partners for Island Poké. We are just beginning to ease-out the pandemic which has been a hugely challenging period for the hospitality sector and these latest partnerships show amazing confidence in our brand.
“Hero Brands has given us key investment and expertise in growing our franchise model and it is also extremely pleasing to secure our first two partners so quickly after they have come on board with us.”
Island Poké explains that it is leaning on Hero Brand’s leading industry expertise and operational infrastructure as it sets its sights on becoming the go-to poké brand both domestically and abroad.
Athif Sarwar, chairman of Hero Brands added: “Hero Brands is responding to emerging consumer trends and focused on growing the brands of the future.
“Island Poké fits with our DNA and we are working with James and the team to bring our expertise and embark on our ambitions to create a truly global brand.
“The first two partnerships are the first steps in this journey and shows the huge potential of the concept and brand as we emerge from the pandemic.” In addition to its UK development programme, Island Poké says it has 42 outlets already planned overseas in France and Benelux.