May 24, 2023

22: How Refining Operations Can Help You Grow | James Deng, Poké House

22: How Refining Operations Can Help You Grow | James Deng, Poké House
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“The people that are super successful have their operations on lock.”

James Deng is the Founder & CEO of Poké House, a poké chain based in Northern California with 9 locations and counting.

James opened Poké House’s first location in 2015, and has since grown the concept to 5 company-owned locations and 4 franchise operated units, with big plans to scale beyond those numbers in the coming years. 

In this episode James shares how Poké House grew into this success, including:

- How Poké House differentiated from competition by making their tightening their operations

- Why buying a warehouse and using it as a distribution center can be helpful to business owners with multiple locations

- All the technology tools Poké House uses to run a tight ship, and

- How James manages the stress and anxiety that comes with running a bootstrapped restaurant business

James is sharp, insightful, and full of operational wisdom, so I think you’ll really enjoy this episode.

Please enjoy my conversation with James Deng of Poké House!


Where to find Poké House:


Where to find James:


Where to find Bryan:


Where to find Kitava:



In this episode, we cover:

  • (01:58) The Poké House origin story
  • (09:48) Losing 13 pounds the first month after he opened the first restaurant
  • (14:38) Pulling out of operations allowed James to implement SOPs and hire more managers
  • (16:18) Team structure as Poké House scaled
  • (18:53) How Poké House differentiated from competition by refining their operations and making them as “tight” as McDonald’s or Chick-fil-A
  • (21:28) The changes James made to help improve operations
  • (25:00) How much you can save by buying and utilizing a distribution center
  • (26:48) Getting into franchising
  • (28:33) Onboarding Jolt to improve operations
  • (31:02) Rewarding employees with equity
  • (33:15) How James spends his time today
  • (34:53) On The Fly Segment