The newest addition to the Poké Co family opened in Claremont on 14 August 2020.
Flanagan’s idea to open a specialised poké bar in Cape Town was first sparked while travelling in 2015.
I discovered that poké has all the flavours we love in sushi, rediscovered in a unique, spontaneous and convenient way. I realised that it was missing from the seafood scene in Cape Town and felt it was an opportunity that I couldn’t miss out on!In 2017, Flanagan opened a delivery-only kitchen and, in 2018, his first customer-facing eatery was launched.
We got in touch with Flanagan to chat about the company’s recent innovations, health food trends and how Poké Co stayed afloat during the lockdown.
The largest challenge was all the uncertainty. Not knowing what level we would be on, which regulations would apply and if customers would feel comfortable visiting us. The uncertainty made planning difficult - from the shop fit through to the opening day. We had to adapt daily to the ever-changing climate.
The power of word-of-mouth can calm what once was a very fear-driven environment. If you have come out and supported your local businesses, had a good experience and felt safe, tell your friends, post on social media and help spread some positivity, it will go a long way.
The same can happen from the top, if they are happy with the rules and regulation they have set and businesses comply, they should be encouraging people to get out and together we can change the course of the economy.
I think Covid has caused everyone to refocus; identify what you do well and deliver on those core values or products.
We have a simple vision; to do good to your taste buds, your body, the community and the environment.
I think the fast-casual dining trend will continue, with a focus on healthy eating, using locally produced products and making use of all the available new technology in the restaurant space.
In the short term, getting all the existing stores cash positive and in the medium- to long-term, we plan on opening more stores around the country.