Maui’s Highest-Rated Fast-Casual Restaurant Approved for California Franchising

Maui's Highest-Rated Fast-Casual Restaurant Approved for California Franchising

Coconut’s Fish Cafe, the highest-rated fast-casual restaurant on Maui, has been approved to begin franchising in California, clearing a significant regulatory hurdle and moving the island-themed fish restaurant to the cusp of becoming a major, emerging brand in the fast-casual market.

Already, Coconut’s has spread to Arizona in 2013 and has finalized a deal in Texas for multiple franchised locations to begin opening later in 2014. But with the doors to California opening, the leaders at Coconut’s feel that their biggest market just opened for business.

“Every third customer at our restaurant in Hawaii comes from California,” says Daniel Oney, Chief Operations Officer at Coconut’s. “After their third or fourth visit in a week, they leave to go back to California and invariably ask when we’ll be there too. Thankfully, ‘imminently’ is now our answer.”

Working with its consultants and market experts, Coconut’s has identified dozens of submarkets in both Northern and Southern California that fit the Coconut’s model for franchise opportunities. With the company’s focus on finding qualified multi-unit developers, California represents a growing opportunity for investment and return.

Coconut’s Fish Cafe features Hawaiian fish and flavors combined with a focus on health-conscious options. The food routinely impresses Coconut’s customers with the fresh, bright flavors; the culture of aloha continues to invite customers back for more.

Aloha isn’t just a greeting at Coconut’s,” says Michael Phillips, the Founder and CEO, “it’s a spirit of love and welcome that is essential to the Hawaiian Islands. It’s part of the culture we’ve adopted for our family of restaurants. As much as the food makes us unique, our Aloha is what I’m particularly proud of.”

Michael Phillips founded Coconut’s Fish Cafe in 2009. Despite the down economy, Coconut’s enjoyed the support and patronage of Maui’s local population and developed a following that began attracting tourist business. Tourists became advocates for franchising as they lined up to try to become the next partner for Phillips’ restaurant. In 2013, Coconut’s began its mainland expansion by opening a restaurant in Arizona. The success was immediate, its lesson undeniable; Coconut’s island success was duplicated in the mainland. In 2014, Coconut’s found a multi-unit franchisee in Texas and expanded its corporate structure to support future growth throughout the Western United States.

Coconut’s structured growth plan will provide for a set number of openings in 2015, with the calendar open on a first-qualified, first-served basis for franchisees.  For more information, please visit