Teriyaki Madness, the Seattle-inspired teriyaki restaurant franchise, saw tremendous growth throughout 2020, establishing 31 new locations — 25 of which opened during the pandemic — in markets across the country and introducing hordes of new fans to its now-famous teriyaki bowls.
New locations are only the most visible way Teriyaki Madness has grown over the past year. The brand has also expanded its corporate team, hiring 26 new members, including new Chief Development Officer David Biederman, who brings over two decades of industry experience to the table with brands like McDonald’s, Smashburger and Toppers Pizza.
According to CEO Michael Haith, the surge in talent is designed to support the franchise’s ongoing momentum and ensure that franchisees continue to benefit from dedicated and personalized corporate support.
“We’ve always defined the success of our brand by the success of our franchisees, so as our network of restaurants continues to grow, we’re adamant about expanding the support and resources we offer in step with that growth,” Haith said.
That strategy is paying off for the fast-growing franchise, whose franchisees also saw stunning gains in 2020. In Q3, shop-level sales were up an average of 18% across the franchise system compared to Q3 of 2019. The brand also saw a 45% year-over-year increase in grand opening sales for new locations in 2020 and a 44% increase in grand opening sales for locations that opened during COVID over those that opened before.
In July, Ohmar Villavicencio opened a new Teriyaki Madness location in Hawaii — the first of a ten-unit agreement he signed with the franchise. Villavicencio said the pandemic proved a minor hurdle in getting up and running.
“I was given the option to delay opening due to the pandemic, and I said ‘no way.’ The support I’ve gotten from the corporate team and the growth and success of this brand over the past couple of years gave me the confidence to move forward,” said Villavicencio. “I am so glad I did make that decision because I’ve been able to provide over 30 jobs for my community, and of course some delicious food for all of our customers.”
In 2020, Teriyaki Madness also launched Restaurant Sherpas, a sister company restaurant management company that provides day-to-day management support for the brand’s restaurants, allowing investor franchisees to focus more on developing multiple shops and growing more rapidly to meet their growth goals.
Of course, Teriyaki Madness’s growth in 2020 was somewhat unique in the foodservice industry, which was hit especially hard by the COVID-19 crisis. Not content to thrive while so many others in the industry were struggling, Teriyaki Madness launched a number of campaigns in 2020 to pay its own success forward. Those efforts included the aptly named “Pay It Forward” campaign, in which the brand teamed up with customers to split the cost of more than 6,000 meals for healthcare workers, and the Wok-Star Teacher program, which also split the cost of meals that were delivered to teachers and educators in local communities.