The Rise Of The Bowl — Not Super Bowl But Poke Bowl?

Photo sourced from Muscle Maker.

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They’re healthy, easy to make, and ready to eat. Bowl foods are quickly gaining traction.

For those still eating food off their plates, some are saying it might be high time they ride the wave of the new craze: bowl food. From millions of search results on Meta Platforms Inc. FB, Twitter Inc. TWTR, and Instagram to a boatload of viral videos on TikTok, bowl foods are taking the food market by storm.

There has also been a profound celebrity adoption of the concept. The 600 guests at Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s royal wedding were served several options of fashionable bowl food dishes.

Among the trending food-in-bowls, Hawaiian poke ranks among the top. Poke is a traditional Hawaiian dish that became popular in the 1970s. In Hawaiian, Poke means to slice or cut into pieces.

A true Hawaiian poke is a simple dish consisting of raw fish served with traditional condiments such as seaweed, sea salt, and kukui nuts. It is believed that the modern-day poke can be attributed to the arrival of the Japanese and Chinese, who brought ingredients such as sesame oil to poke. 

In modern-day Poke — especially on the mainland — the raw fish or seafood can be replaced with chicken, tofu, avocados, mushrooms, or cucumbers on a bed of rice or salad. This is served in a bowl, which gives it its sensational appeal. 

Poke began gaining popularity in North America around 2012. The global poke food market is expected to reach $1.2 billion by 2024, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of about 14%.

Unlike the fast-food market which is highly competitive and dominated by big companies like McDonald's Corp. MCD and Wendy’s Co. WEN, there is not much competition in the poke space. Muscle Maker Inc. GRIL is hopping on the poke trend through its subsidiary Pokemoto, a company it purchased last May.

Founded in 1995 in Colonia, New Jersey, Muscle Maker has grown from one store to more than 45 locations, with an additional 67 franchise agreements signed to be opened, employing more than 800 people. Pokemoto is a Hawaiian poke bowl company that offers customers a list of pre-made poke bowls. However, customers also have the option to build their own version of poke based on nutritional preference.

Currently, Pokemoto has 19 locations in six states, with restaurants in three more states to be launched soon. The company recently announced the addition of 27 newly signed franchise agreements. Once these locations are opened, they will bring the total number of Pokemoto stores to 46, representing a growth rate of over 250% in a short period. 

“Our team is working tirelessly to keep the momentum going into 2022 with new deals and prospective franchisee outreach, along with launching marketing campaigns to fill the franchisee pipeline. The company will also be expanding through strategically placed corporate-owned locations,” Muscle Maker CEO Mike Roper said.  "As a matter of fact, we have signed leases and started construction on two new corporate-owned and operated locations in the Miami, Florida, market and have begun planning for a location in the Jacksonville, Florida, market as well.”

This post contains sponsored advertising content. This content is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be investing advice.

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