Q: What professional accomplishments are you most proud of since you started working with Poke Me as a developer?
In 2017 we opened three locations under the Poke Me
concept! This is a big accomplishment because the LA market is saturated right now with food and beverage concepts. Opening the three locations and being cash flow positive and maintaining profitability is also a great accomplishment for us. Our choice was to grow organically because we know in this way we can build the foundation for the future. Running a team of 50 people comes with great responsibilities, and yes it's a tough battle, it's a lot of work and you need to be involved in your business in order to succeed.Q: What is one piece of advice that you will give someone running a restaurant business? Abtin :
I think patience is definitely the vehicle for success and being business smart is the fuel. Focus on things that will have a high return over the course of a long period, like branding and company culture. Also, you need to put a lot of passion in your work, and you need to pay attention to all the important aspects of your business. In our case, something that I like to focus on is playing the long term game and I'm sure in the end this will make the difference between us and others.
Q: What is the biggest challenge you have met in your career? Abtin :
I think manpower and labor is an ongoing challenge and an opportunity as well. Retaining employees has been definitely the biggest challenge and it continues to be. These days when you hire someone, especially for the hourly jobs, it's tough when you see them leaving within seven and ten days because they found a better job that pays 10 to 25 cents more an hour. Above everything that you face every day, loyalty of your employees is very important.