We had the good fortune of connecting with John Kim and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi John, what do you attribute your success to?
Trying to put the needs and concerns of our guests first. We want to make decisions because we believe it’s the right thing to do and that our guest(s) will appreciate it, not because it will necessarily lead to more sales. By not feeling restricted by “cost” and operating with “do the right thing” mindset, I trust that it has led to PurePoke still standing here today, which I consider a success!
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
We (my wife and I) set out with a prayer that PurePoke could be used as a vessel of God. It’s on Pg. 1 of PurePoke’s training manual that we go through with every employee. We pray that in addition to serving great, high-quality food to our local community, we, as owners, get to use PurePoke on the daily to serve our employees & guests by treating them with genuine love and using the financial fruits of the business to give generously. To remind ourselves regularly of this prayer, we purposely painted the bible verse Matthew 4:19 “And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” in our main dining room mural and printed it on every to go lid that goes out with each rice bowl. By seeing it visually daily, it keeps us in check and reminds us of what this is all about. From an operations side, I take pride in running PurePoke like a baby Houston’s. Consistently executing high-quality food and timely service. We have fresh fish flown in daily, using only sustainable fish and organic greens. Everything is trimmed in house and prepared from scratch daily by my wife. It’s really a labor of love but makes us super proud to share our food. It’s been a challenging but fulfilling road. We had trouble deciding on a location and looked at 20+ spots in North Dallas. My wife on a whim, decided to take a drive to clear her head and stumbled into Hall Park/Park Plaza our current location. Building our reputation with the local community took longer than we anticipated. Rome wasn’t built overnight and PurePoke certainly didn’t feel even semi built until about a year into it. Being in the middle of Hall Park (all offices) was great for lunch business but not good for dinner traffic. Our first couple of months, we literally would get excited if we had one person walk-in for dinner so there were a lot of quiet nights and days contemplating if we could sustain this business. However, we were committed to being a healthy dinner option and trusted that eventually word would get out. It did, it just took longer than we would have liked!!! 😉
Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
Oh yeah, fun question. Lately, I joined the Facebook groups: DFW Black Owned Restaurants and Asian Grub in DFDUB. Warning: Don’t join unless you plan on gaining 15 pounds in the next month!! There’s so many hidden spots that we’re still finding but these two foodie groups are awesome in sharing good eats. If our friends/family from California were visiting, we would go to: TKS Cuisine in Plano for their crab fried rice, Cantonese poached chicken in sichuan oil and our 6-year old daughter loves their crispy house special beef (not spicy for her!!). To hang out, we’d take the kids to Frisco Athletic Center swimming pool & lazy river or maybe Little Elm Beach Lake and afterwards. custard at Andy’s!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Wow, so hard to mention just one person or group. I believe that I’ve been molded by a sprinkle of a lot of mentors I’ve been fortunate to work with (a bunch of great minds at Hillstone Restaurant Group). Here goes: Business acumen by Eddie Lee & Adam Go, Guest managment by Francis Luttmer, Staff management by Chris Florczak, Leadership by Robert Wilkinson, Faith (most important!!) by Pastor Ryan Lee & Semihan Church in Carrollton. Finally, all credit to God, that He’s able to use a tool like me to serve others is a testament to His grace.
Samantha Marie, @smfoodiepoet
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