Walmart to add poke restaurants inside retail locations across the US

Uncle Sharkii poke bowls and drinks.

Walmart is partnering with Sacramento, California, U.S.A.-basedUncle Sharkii Poke Bar to open fast-food style poke bars inside its stores across the U.S 

The deal will be initiated with the opening of 10 new locations throughout California over the next five months, Uncle Sharkii said in a press release.

My dream has been to bring the essence of the Sharkii Ohana to millions of families who shop at Walmart,Uncle Sharkii Founder and CEO Fen Reyes said. This is a monumental step in a major push to achieve Uncle Sharkiis mission to bring  'affordable poke bowls to the masses.'"

The poke chain, which operates restaurants in Hawaii, California, Texas, and Utah, will feature exclusive menu items and a new, more modern look at its Walmart locations. Its current offerings include shrimp, ahi tuna, and salmon poke bowls. 

Uncle Sharkiis brand essence centers around the idea of family members sharing food, creating an experience that resonates with Walmarts community-oriented approach, the company said.  

Growing up in Hawaii, Walmart has always become a gathering point for locals, tourists, and families alike. There is the sense of community and a creation of nostalgia for everyone that visits its stores,” Uncle Sharkii Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer Raymond Reyes said. "I never in my wildest dreams ever thought that partnering up with Walmart would be ever possible in my lifetime."

Separately from its Walmart deal, Uncle Sharkii is planning to open restaurants in Arizona and Nevada in 2024. The company, which didn't respond to SeafoodSource's request for additional comment, operates on a franchising model.

Several other seafood-focused restaurant chains are also expanding in various U.S. regions. For example, Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.A.-basedCaptain D's will add three locations in New York City via its first franchise development agreement in the region, with experienced multi-brand franchiseesKelly MoughalandMuhammad Saleem, who first introduced the Checkers brand toManhattan and own multiple Subway and Little Caesars locations, Captain Ds said. The agreement calls for new restaurants to be built in Manhattanand Long Island, with the first Captain Ds expected to open in late 2024. The design of theNew York City-area restaurants will be customized for each site's considerations and will cater to the demands of an urban market with limited space and increased foot traffic, the restaurant chain said. 

"Captain D's is thrilled to enter the greaterNew York Citymarket, and we could not have found a better franchising team to do that with," Captain Ds Chief Development Officer Brad Reed said. "Kelly and Muhammad have built an impressive portfolio of businesses and real estate throughoutNew York. Their in-depth knowledge of the market and connections to real estate developers will serve them and Captain D's very well." 

Separately, Mobile, Alabama, U.S.A.-based Rock N Roll Sushi recently opened its fifth Arkansas location in Little Rock, Arkansas. The restaurant concept operates more than 66 locations in 10 states and its menu includes fun sushi offerings such as a punk rock roll, a VIP roll, and hibachi. 

And Portland, Maine, U.S.A.-based Cousins Maine Lobster recently opened another food truck in Washington, D.C., U.S.A., at Other Half Brewing. The company, which operates restaurants and food trucks in New York,Connecticut, Maryland, and Virginia, has expanded rapidly nationwide.

Elsewhere, Pret A Manger, which serves seafood sandwiches and other sandwiches, baked goods and coffee, will be expanding in the U.S. and the U.K.  The restaurant chain, founded in London, U.K., with a corporate office in New York City, announced a joint venture with existing franchisee Dallas International, accelerating the companys ambitious plans in the U.S., a key growth market in which the company intends to expand further through a combination of new equity shops and additional franchise agreements,the company said. 

As part of this new partnership, Dallas will have operational control of approximately 50 Pret shops in the U.S. states of New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C., and exclusive rights to open new shops in these markets. Dallas intends to refurbish several of the restaurants, and work with Pret to develop and introduce new shop formats, including drive-thrus.  Dallas will also open 10 or more U.S. Pret shops on the East Coast by 2026, Pret a Manger said. 

The joint venture builds on the existing relationship between Pret and Dallas, which includes separate franchise partnership agreements for Dallas to build and operate a range of Pret shops in the UK and more than 40 in southern California. 

Photo courtesy of Jonathan Weiss/Shutterstock


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