Tell us about yourself?
During my professional career, I’ve focused on customer service and, ultimately, sales. Prior to Steve’s Poké Bar, I worked my way upward from a (door to door) Direct-to-Consumer Salesman to Sales Manager and then, ultimately, Director of Sales. This role challenged me to become an efficient leader and allowed me to see potential in people. From there, I learned to nurture the skills that my co-workers, teams and partners were not only good at but also what they enjoyed doing. I found my passion in searching for potential in others with goals that align with mine and helping people develop their potential to be the best version of themselves.
What made you get into this line of work? I’ve always wanted to have a restaurant as I love making food for others while sharing my culture, and secondly, I wanted to create an environment where people can grow and thrive.
If you could go back in time a year or two, what piece of advice would you give yourself?
Don’t doubt yourself: COVID was challenging; it questioned whether we should keep growing or start creating an exit plan. When we were put in a tough situation, we decided to switch gears and gave ourselves no plan B. We didn’t allow ourselves to fail, so we found ways; whether it was fully relying on and trusting our team or innovating our current systems and processes, we pushed forward. Ultimately, we had to be creative and think outside the box.
What problem does your business solve?
From a consumer standpoint, we really focus on the guest experience, whether it means making delicious tasting poke that is consistent with every order to providing awesome guest experiences through our people. We’re here to satisfy taste buds and make people feel welcomed every time they step foot inside one of our locations.
From a business standpoint, we created a system that didn’t rely on a lot of processes that eliminates a lot of complicated systems. We wanted to streamline a system that allows business partners to be profitable and encourages them to live their best life.
What is the inspiration behind your business?
The inspiration behind the business was my childhood growing up in Hawaii. I wanted to share poké with Vancouver. When we started, there was little poké around, but no one was doing what we were doing – authentic Hawaiian poké by using flavours and ingredients that I grew up with.
What is your magic sauce?
Our authentic Hawaiian poké with real Hawaiian ingredients shipped in from Hawaii and the way we take care of our people, including guests.
What is the plan for the next 5 years? What do you want to achieve?
We want to share our awesome, authentic Hawaiian poké with some other major cities across Canada. We are a franchise business, and most of our stores are run by franchisees who own more than 1 location. We are working on creating a system to bring quality products, logistics and support through all our locations so our future franchise partner can be successful.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?
COVID has been the biggest challenge so far. We shared a lot of common struggles with other businesses during this period of time. We were able to overcome these same challenges and ended up doing our best in 2021 and 2022. Our biggest challenge now is improving a system and growing our team to support our future expansion.
How can people get involved?
Download our app, visit us or order online if you want to support our business. If you are an interested franchise partner, visit us at https://www.stevespokebar.ca/franchise. Mahalo for your support 🤙