Koi Poke, a six-unit Arizona fast-casual bowl concept, has recently launched a franchising effort as Koibito Poke under the leadership of former MLB pitcher Todd Stottlemyre, the company said this week.
The first Koi Poke restaurant opened in May 2017, and the Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Koi Franchise LLC intends to focus its initial efforts in the states of California, Colorado, Nevada and Washington, the company said.
A spokeswoman said the existing locations will remain as Koi Poke, and future franchised locations will be under the Koibito Poke flag.
Stottlemyre, who serves as president of Koi Franchise LLC, said in a statement: “With the quick success of Koi Poke in Arizona and realizing we have the potential to build the right team to leverage a brilliant plan for creating a franchise model, it was impossible for us not to look at expanding this brand on a national level.”
Stottlemyre, who played played 15 seasons for the Toronto Blue Jays, Oakland Athletics, St. Louis Cardinals, Texas Rangers and Arizona Diamondbacks, added that “high-performing coaching” would be integrated into the Koibito Poke franchise efforts.
Koibito, which translates from the Japanese as “sweetheart,” is built on word for “love,” or koi. The company said beyond the initial four franchise states, it would look at opportunities in the Midwest and beyond.
Both brands feature a “build-a-bowl” format that allows customers to customize their meals.
The restaurants feature a bar with options that include red and white wine, champagne, beer on draft and in the bottle and a selection of sakes.
The company said the initial franchisee fee is $30,000.
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