The Daily Rail: Is the Poke Restaurant Market Oversaturated?

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Why it matters to you: With the massive influx of poke restaurants throughout the past two years the market has become oversaturated.

One of the more recent and larger food trends have been poke bowls -- a Hawaiian dish that is similar to a deconstructed sushi roll in a bowl. These bowls became all the rage in cities the past two years. We think its partially due to their photogenic nature and social media friendly

More and more establishments opened up to fulfill these hungry diners’ demands and before we knew it we were oversaturated with these specialty restaurants. A viral food trend gone viral within the strip mall retail space

It’ll be interesting to see if the poke restaurants can adapt to the oversaturated market or wither away as a fad. A restaurant this specialized doesn’t have too many options they can move forward with short of using rice alternatives (such a quinoa or forbidden black rice) or seasonal fish (which hopefully would be offered to begin with). The lack of options means differentiating one place from another becomes virtually just the branding. Maybe if there were more deviation in texture and options the ‘trend’ would have had more staying power but it doesn’t so look out for an unfortunate number of restaurant closings in the near future.



Why it matters to you: Batali Restaurant Group settles yet another lawsuit.

Mario Batali and his former partners are close to finalizing the settlement on yet another lawsuit, this time in regard to wage violation. Batali, two of his former partners, and five of their NYC restaurants have agreed to pay out about $2.2 million after a former busser initiated a class action suit along with 1,300 other FoH staffers. That doesn’t work out too much (roughly $1,692 per person) but it’s still a victory for the employees. The staff alleges that they would often work up to 55 hours per week but would be short changed and paid for only 45 hours and that their work often exceeded that of which tipped-employees could do. Awful.

We are very happy to see that these guys took action and got something from it. No employee ever deserves to not be paid for their work done let alone being asked to do work they legally aren’t supposed to do. We hope that all of these employees are now moving on to greener pastures or at least getting paid what they are worth… Seems like the Batali group was a little worse that we all initially suspected in every way.