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Reservations Daniel Lee Pokehana



Transcript of the Video: Reservations Daniel Lee Pokehana

Welcome to Reservations. I’m Jeff Harrison and behind the camera is my business partner Andrew McCauley. This is a show where we get to interview local restaurant owners and managers and find out what’s making them ticking and give you a little bit more insight into what’s going on. Today is exciting because we get to interview somebody who is in probably one of the hottest food trends in the country now. It certainly was in 2018, we’re in Pokehana’s right now. We’re going to go inside and we’re going to talk to Daniel Lee who has a really cool, interesting story as a background. No pressure on Daniel. So let’s go in and let’s talk to Daniel.

Hi, Daniel. Take a take a few minutes and kind of tell our audience a little bit about Pokehana and really your business and what it’s all about us. We’re kind of part of the food trend like this in 2018-2019 where Pokehana is popping up everywhere. We are a fast-casual, quick-service Poke restaurant and at a good price point. Try to bring the best about what you get here. It is not like a sit-down, kind of fine dining Sushi set up, but kind of bring it down to more economical kind of experience. He’s being too modest because I was brought in by Andrew, who has come here with his family and whatnot. I came in and at first it was, I don’t know what exactly is it we get to build these bowls, right? And they’re amazing. Are they healthy for us?

Everything is Fresh

Yes. So, one of the things that kind of set us apart from a lot of other fast-casual concepts is everything’s fresh. Everything’s very healthy for you. You know, you’re not getting a burger or pizza or some other places. I’m surrounded by these awesome constantly, but it’s kind of where we all get together and you get some choices, occupy a little bit of the healthier options. Now, you come from, a little bit different background than most people who just started the restaurant for the first time. How did you decide on this food? I’m looking at the cross street and there was, I won’t say the name of the pizza place that you said you’re surrounded by food even though it’s not a food core. How did you come into Poke?

Family of Entrepreneurs

Oh, well for me it’s a, I always grew up, you know, watching my family being entrepreneurs, so they’ve always been business owners. They’ve always been managers on businesses. We have a different priority. And so that’s kind of where we got everything will run for by networks and everything came through Facebook on my back has already established. I kind of came into this thinking, I guess I had a little bit of that entrepreneurship, always been around my family. So it was easy for me to kind of think, well maybe this is something I want to do too because we’re already in the restaurant business and we kind of saw the trend too. Both of it coming to when we did more research and we found out about it. Well, we have the sort of network established for it. So why not just try and make happen?

You mentioned Okura and that’s in La Quinta, if you’re not familiar with that, that’s on the corner of Washington 111, right. That location has been for how many years? It’s been there for 13 years now. Time flies, I mean I love going there. See, I grew up around there. I guess it was just always a bit of a restaurant.

The Healthier Diet

Do you ever find that the customers have come here are people who also go to Okura or vice versa? Yes. So a lot of our customers that actually come through here, when I’ve mentioned, they kind of look at me like, wait, you know about that place too. Like that’s one of our go-to restaurants. And I’ll say, oh well you might see me there. Or sometimes you’ll see a lot of familiar faces because you know, all the same family. So we do get a lot of cross customer basis. But I think for anybody who is kind of into the more healthier diet, healthier foods to eat Sushi kind of goes into that. I guess I’d like to get the same type of customer.

Take us through the process because it’s a little different. I mean this kind of setup where we actually go through the order and then we get our food and have a nice place to sit down cause this was a very comfortable environment. Easy to get to is right here, just on the backside of up the sale. Give us an address by the way, just in case you’re not familiar with it. So it’s 73405 Highway 111. I guess an easier way to put it would be everybody knows all snacks building here. There’s a lot of restaurants on this side of the street.

Combinations That We Put Together

Take us through the process if I’m walk-in. I’m somebody who’s going to eat at your restaurant. Take us to the process. So I guess basically once you come in and just kind of go down the line, create your own kind of bowl. We have pre-configured options just in case, for beginners they don’t know exactly what they want. I was a beginner. I didn’t know those pre-configured bowls. So those are just kind of combinations that we put together that we did go well that’s a good place to start. It’s broken down by like the different types of fish. So after you have one of those, you kind of get a sense of what you like it or not in the bowl. There are a lot of options so it’s a good way to start.

Yeah, and I’ll tell you what this week and don’t change it. Put the generosity in what we get to, what you pay for. I think that the price value forming that there’s depth to it makes me feel like I’m not like going to, it’s just sometimes you go to those restaurants and just like, I’m going to eat on the way home. This is not that feeling. Again, it’s a healthy bowl, right? It’s a little difficult to kind of find the balance, how much value of what you’re actually in the quality of everything as well. For us, it’s everything we make here, I don’t know exactly how we figured the formula out.

It Is A Light Meal

I guess it’s you’re getting kind of high-quality ingredients and dressings and other ingredients that we had here in a more casual setting and the most of it, rather than having to go to sit down, somebody taking your order. This is more like a grab and go, but you’re still getting the same kind of sit down and we don’t feel guilty for eating our watch.

And we don’t have a heavy feeling like I shouldn’t have eaten a whole pizza. One thing that I get a lot too is I got a large working crowd here around that with sales. So a lot of people will take it for lunch and take it to the board to finish it there. And what they liked about it is that it doesn’t drag their day along. Get that three o’clock and then you start getting tired. It’s just more, it’s this light.

Know Your Customers

Daniel let us transition now more of a business, a couple of business questions. Okay. You don’t just don’t miss this location in La Quinta. Correct. So what is as challenging as restaurants are? I think in the industry they’re the highest failure rate, the pressure of staffing and turnover and all that kind of stuff. What do you point to right now is, what is your success? And you’ve got to lean back on, you know, your family’s Okura restaurant. What do you think is the key to that long term success?

I think the key is really knowing kind of customer basis too. And also kind of coming up with a concept and a broader, when you start to imagine create, have to try to pay attention to some of the little detail. That’s what sets you apart from a lot of other places that it takes is the branding and the taste. It is very important.

I mean, it was nice for me to have the number of already established when it comes to finding my vendors, how to get into contact with who all of that kind of needs to be thought out. And it’s difficult to try and get your foot in the door once you do the research meet with. It’s a lot of back and forth for a lot of work in a team together and it’s just making sure that every day you’re on top of what makes successful. Absolutely. So what would you say, out of all the challenges that you faced as you say, what would you say is your number one challenge?

A Good Picture Of What It Could Be

I want to be successful at it. So I think sometimes when people want to get into something, they’re not exactly sure or they’re not committed. There are just people just run out. But it’s really important to just really get in there, stick to, so you were talking about passion in balance. How do you, how do you deal with that now? Or are you just like how many of us face it? You’re a young man right now, I’m not building a business where it’s hitting the dirt right now and yeah, just kind of running with it. So did you see your family with Okura do similar things and now that’s what’s going to take. Yes and no. I mean, I think it was just me seeing the way that my family grew up. Uh, we came here from Korea initially when I was a kid.

So I mean, right when my parents got here, we had to figure something out. It was kind of grown up with and I saw how much work they put into it. That’s kind of what gave me a good understanding of what it might take and even for me to decide if that is something I wanted to do. But yeah, so that kind of gave me a good picture of what it could be.

Special Offer From Daniel

Well, if you just joined us, you’re at Reservations, I’m Jeff Harrison, I’m here with Daniel Lee of Pokehana. He has got two locations here in the desert, one here in Palm Desert and one in La Quinta. If you haven’t tried it, don’t let the name or how it goes. Don’t let that intimidate you. Come in and try it. I think once you try it, you will be hooked. I don’t, I don’t say that everyone we interview, although we do enjoy the food that everyone we’ve spoken to.

Because again, I can walk out Daniel and feel guilt-free and know that it’s going to last me throughout the day and I’m going to have the energy I need to keep going. Before we go is we like to, and this is totally up to you. I’m catching Daniel off the cuff here. Daniel, if you, if you want to offer our viewers, people who watch this, if they see this and they come in and mention, Hey, I saw your show on Reservations, would you offer them any kind of a special? I think I would. Listen up now. So I’m trying to kind of want to get a good sense of kind of how you guys were too and you know the community that you guys kind of build.

I guess the interaction. It’d be kind of cool to have people come in that saw this and this just kind of thing. I want to see your crowd. I guess. Let’s do it. So let’s make sure that when you come in to let Daniel or anyone working here to say, Hey, I came in because I saw the show and I saw the interview with Daniel on Reservations on Facebook live. And then at the point of contact, you’re going to offer them something or the surprise. You’re the first one who has done that Daniel. So we’ll see what happens and get some feedback.

What Is My Surprise?

Now before we go, I want to make sure to thank our sponsors, Swing Point Media. They are digital marketing and see that help restaurant, just like Daniel’s succeed in this digital world. We’re over 80% of us do our business on that cell phone that you’re watching this through right now. And so if you have any questions about that, please check them out. It’s a and they can help you with building a database, getting reoccurring customers. That’s what Swing Point Media does. So I just want to thank them for a sponsor.

Daniel, before we ended the last words that you’d like to say to people that hey this is the one thing I’d like you to know about Pokehana and Daniel Lee to make a decision to come in and visit you. Well, I know I got a good product to kind of do the same. Well Daniel, thank you so much. Thank you. Appreciate it. Make sure to tune in. Share this with other friends and when you walked the door, make sure you say, Hey, I saw you on Reservations, Facebook live. What’s my surprise? All right, thank you guys for going to see you again soon. Again on Reservations where we interview local restaurant owners and or managers making a difference here and you get to go behind the scenes and find out a bit more about it. Thanks again for joining us.

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