Pokeworks Appoints Restaurant Industry Veteran Steve Heeley As CEO


IRVINE, Calif., August 12, 2021 / PRNewswire / – To strengthen its growth strategy and strengthen the brand, Pokéworks announces the promotion of Chief Marketing Officer Steve heeley to the Chief Executive Officer, with immediate effect. Heeley’s appointment comes at a pivotal moment for the brand as it rolls out a new restaurant design and development projects, menu innovations and great additions to the C-Suite, fueling the franchise’s rapid development as the brand is on track to add 10 locations by the end of 2021.

Heeley joined the Pokeworks team as CMO in March 2021 with extensive experience in brand management, menu creation and restaurant development focused on health. Prior to joining the Pokeworks team, Heeley served as CEO at Veggie Grill, where he led the plant-based and rapid concept growth through rebranding, new menu development and digital transformation. His list of past leadership positions held in the industry includes Earl of Sandwich, Au Bon Pain, The Coffee Bean Tea Leaf and Beja fresh. In his role as CMO of Pokeworks, Heeley oversaw the marketing department while leading efforts surrounding revenue strategy, including branding and digital strategy, product development and customer relationship management. As CEO, Heeley will work with passion to build the brand, team and systems to support the success of all franchise operators.

“It has been exciting and humbling to be a part of the tremendous growth of this brand,” said Heeley. “The founders, management team and franchise partners of Pokeworks have done an incredible job of making Pokeworks a nationally successful brand in a short period of time. I am delighted to build on this foundation and help build guiding Pokeworks into the future with our shared vision to become the world’s most trusted, fast, premium casual poke brand. Poke is no longer a trend, it has become a widely accepted growth category in the industry. fast casual. “

The brand’s performance over the past few years has garnered it numerous awards, including being named one of NRN’s top five concepts in 2018, inclusion in Fast Casual’s Top 100 Movers and Shakers three years in a row, including the ranking among the top five brands. for 2019 and 2020, and inclusion in Entrepreneur’s Franchise 500 ranking in 2021. Pokeworks has set ambitious expansion targets to double new store commitments in 2021 and 2022 as it seeks multi-unit operators throughout United States and internationally.

“Pokeworks is an ever-evolving restaurant, evolving to meet consumer needs for high-quality, high-quality, quick casual options that are differentiated,” said Mike Chen, president and co-founder of Pokeworks. “Under Steve’s leadership, Pokeworks is and will continue to be a consumer-centric brand. With Steve’s experience as CEO and his commitment to making Pokeworks the most trusted premium poke brand, we have no doubt that ‘it will lead us to future success as we continue to innovate, adapt and grow with world-class franchise partners. ”

Within the framework of the relocations of the executive, Mike wu, former CEO and co-founder of Pokeworks, will assume the role of culinary manager. In this role, he will focus his efforts on menu ideation and culture, which has been his passion since starting his job at Pokeworks in 2015.

“This announcement is a strategic part of the evolution of our business,” Wu said. “There are some exciting times ahead, and I know Steve is looking forward to working with everyone at Pokeworks to help write the crucial next chapters in our history. “

As the nation’s largest poke brand, Pokeworks has led the growth of the premium poke industry, known for its fresh and flavorful traditional Hawaiian-inspired poke. The brand is known for its Signature Works poke creations as well as its “Poke-Your-Way” option allowing customers to create their own poke bowls, burritos or salads by selecting a basic protein – tuna, salmon, chicken, shrimp. and tofu, unique regional blends, flavoring sauces, toppings and crunchy texture.

Pokeworks is one of the largest and fastest growing poke brands in the country in North America with over 60 open locations and over 75 are slated to open by the end of 2022. The brand offers a fresh take on Hawaiian-inspired burritos, bowls and poke salads derived from the highest quality ingredients. The brand’s unique menu allows for complete customization to suit almost anyone, including those on gluten-free, nut-free, vegetarian, vegan, as well as cooked or raw protein diets. For more information on Pokeworks franchise opportunities, visit https://www.pokeworks.com/franchise.

Contact: Anna Pool, Fishman PR, 847-945-1300, [email protected]

SOURCE Pokeworks

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Cecil N. Messick

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