Muscle Maker Grill acquires 13-unit poke chain Pokemoto

Earlier this year, the fast casual added subscription-based meal preparation company SuperFit Foods to its portfolio.
Photo courtesy Muscle Maker Grill

The parent company of struggling Muscle Maker Grill has acquired 13-unit poke concept Pokemoto, the company announced Tuesday.

It’s Muscle Maker’s second acquisition this year, having purchased subscription-based meal preparation company SuperFit Foods in March.

“Our management team has been busy researching acquisition opportunities that fit into our non-traditional growth strategy and the work is starting to bear fruit,” Muscle Maker said in a statement. “The acquisition allows us to expand on what we do best, which is offering a variety of fresh-prepared, ‘healthier-for-you meals.’”

Details of the transaction were not disclosed.

Pokemoto’s current locations are in four states—Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Georgia—and many of the restaurants are near universities. Diners can choose curated poke bowls or build their own from a variety of proteins and toppings.

The acquisition increases Muscle Maker, Inc.’s total revenue by 81%, to $8.1 million, the company said. Pokemoto generated $3.65 million in total revenue in 2020, holding roughly flat over its 2019 numbers.

Muscle Maker has struggled for years. The fast casual currently has 32 total locations. The chain had 39 units in 2019 and 53 restaurants two years before that.

“We believe that this concept will continue to grow rapidly as we implement our nationwide strategy,” CEO Mike Roper said in a statement. “We believe we have the experience to take Pokemoto to the next level.”

Muscle Maker Grill, which was founded in 1995, offers a traditional menu as well as meal plans, with a focus on low-carb, gluten-free and other dishes tailored to specific diets.

The Burleson, Texas-based fast-casual chain has struggled with operating losses for quite some time and has filed registration documents to raise millions in an initial public offering a couple of times in recent years. The IPOs failed to garner much traction, raising just a fraction of what the company was seeking.

In 2018, the chain faced lawsuits from landlords and others over its widespread restaurant closures.


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