Skip to main content

Teriyaki Madness is out to bring Seattle’s tastiest dish to the nation

Al Urbanski
Teriyaki Madness
Teriyaki Madness shops are all under 2,000 sq. ft. since most orders are picked up curbside.

In downtown Seattle, there are teriyaki shops on nearly every corner and locals rarely go a week without indulging in the town’s garlic-and-ginger-infused grilled chicken and vegetables.

Now a fast-expanding franchisor aims to make that happen across the country. 

Teriyaki Madness, which takes custom orders in shops ranging from 1,000 to 2,000 sq. ft, already has 125 locations covering 31 states, as well as Canada and Mexico. But its franchisees want more, so the Denver-based chain plans to open 75 new shops over the next 12 months and have 250 in place by the end of 2024.

The first store was opened in Las Vegas by a pair of Seattleites who thought the dish would win big on the strip. They were right. Regular customers were so enraptured by the soy-soaked fresh chicken and vegetables grilled over a flame that some inquired about purchasing franchises. That led the founders to Michael Haith, head of a team of franchise professionals called Franchise Sherpas, who took the concept on the road for them until he purchased Teriyaki Madness in 2016.

“Seattle teriyaki is an incredibly craveable meal, and it’s fresh and customizable. We cut the vegetables, make the sauce, and cut the chicken all in-store,” said Teriyaki Madness’s COO Erin Hicks. “We’re about 50-50 lunch and dinner, and 70% of orders go out the door, so we don’t need a huge space.”

Needham, Mass.-based Bialow Real Estate is scouting all new locations for franchisees nationwide, and the brokerage’s founder Corey Bialow said that the unique nature of its product is opening doors for Teriyaki Madness in every kind of retail setting from neighborhood centers to regional malls.

“We represent a dozen food brands, and one of the big difficulties they face is conflicting uses in desirable locations. A center can hold only so many burger chains,” Bialow noted. “But there are not a lot of healthy Asian-type providers out there, and Teriyaki Madness doesn’t conflict with the Chipotles or the Paneras of the world, so their concept opens up a lot of doors.”

Customers can choose from bowls, apps, and sides that can be eaten in the shop or ordered via mobile app for curbside pickup. Teriyaki Madness shops do not require drive-thru lanes, which further widens the chain’s choices for new locations. Last year it was named the Fastest-Growing Big Restaurant Chain in the United States by Restaurant Business.

Hicks says that the chain’s intention is to be national, but that it will be a natural progression.

“Franchisees are doing well and looking for the next store,” she said. “So in that respect we are currently looking for locations in specific markets.”

This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds