Pokeworks, the 60-unit poke chain, on Wednesday named Regina Cheung its CEO.
Cheung had been the company’s CFO and will hold that position as well as the CEO title as Pokeworks looks for her replacement in her old job.
The company said she will focus on improving franchisee profitability and introducing the brand to new markets. The chain is planning to move outside the U.S. for the first time, with several locations planned for the Toronto area.
She is the first woman, and first Asian-American, to be CEO of the chain. “Poke plays a large role in Asian food culture,” cofounder Mike Chen said in a statement. “Having a leader who shares that culture as part of her DNA will help us maintain that authenticity. We expect big things from Regina in her new role.”
Chen and his fellow cofounders plan to return to the chain in a “consultive” capacity and will work with Cheung and the Pokeworks management team. Pokeworks said Cheung will work with the cofounders along with Toridoll Holdings, the global investment firm that invested in the chain five years ago.
Pokeworks lauded Cheung for creating a “data-driven culture” as CFO, focused on achieving key performance metrics. The company also said she built strong relationships with the chain’s franchisees and modernized systems and infrastructure.
“I’m a loyal customer,” Cheung said in a statement. “My entire family, including my 9-year-old daughter, absolutely loves the food and can’t get enough.”
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