Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage, but not sure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Zachary Cho, the founder of Westcoast Poke, a restaurant, in Vancouver and Richmond, BC, Canada.
Tell us all about your business...
We offer chef-inspired and fresh poké bowls. All of our sauces were created by chef's and display a wide range of unique flavours. With a focus on sustainability, we use environmental friendly packaging. We continue to innovate with monthly Feature Bowl offerings.
What's your background and motivation to grow as a business owner?
Like all hero’s journeys, our road to poké perfection had humble beginnings. Launched by three high-school buddies in November 2016, Westcoast Poké was born from founder Zach Cho’s struggle to find an option that was nourishing, fast, and affordable during his lunch hour. He refused to settle for the idea that in order for something to be good for you, it has to be served slowly. Enter his moment of “raw” inspiration: delivering the best traditional poké made with innovative, West Coast ingredients. Now with two thriving locations in Greater Vancouver and big plans for expansion, Westcoast Poké is the big tuna on the block and has several top-rated customer awards to show for it. Beyond our fast and fuego menu of signature and build-your-own bowls, we serve uniquely flavoured side dishes, and are currently working with our culinary team on a one-of-a-kind line of sauces that will be making waves in our shops and in your kitchen.Oh yeah, one last thing. We don’t believe in waste when it comes to your time and our environment.
As an entrepreneur, what does success ultimately mean to you?
Each of our locations has won numerous #1 Poké awards in their respective cities. Our biggest to date is the Golden Plates Award.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being an entrepreneur?
Managing the baseline of the restaurant while continuing to support our employees and providing delicious meals. We believe that building and supporting a strong team will lead to great customer service. Covid provided a new challenge of keeping all of our staff employed while exploring new marketing tactics to bring in customers.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run or grow a small business today?
1. Plan plan plan - create an outline before you take any actions. As the saying goes "Measure twice, cut once"
2. Build a marketing plan and schedule monthly tasks. Use a tracking system to see how each campaign is doing. Perform A/B split testing for concepts. Re-evaluate. Plan. Execute.
3. Figure out all "roles" that are required to run the business. Don't choose your partners to fill these roles - figure out which you can use a 3rd party for. Finding the right partners from the beginning will eliminate issues in the future.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Have fun and enjoy building a company! It is stressful, no doubt, but there's nothing more satisfying than seeing your hours of planning and execution turn into results.
Where can people find you online?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as an entrepreneur or business coach that you'd like to share, then email firstname.lastname@example.org; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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