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Teriyaki Madness – Where it’s all about the food

08 Apr 2022 - Did you know that Asian fast food restaurants have grown by nearly 500%* since 1999. That means it’s the fastest growth seen in any fast food category in the country. In a matter of only 15 years, Asian cuisine has surpassed all other categories and continues to hold the crown as king of quality, loyalty and expansion. In this interview with Michael Haith, CEO – Teriyaki Madness we discover how his franchise model keeps people coming back for those big bowls of deliciousness.

1. How did you enter the franchise business?
In 1989, I became a franchisee of a very small restaurant group. Pour la France!. I received zero training, no Operations Manual or any other support outside of some recipes and an unknown brand name. I learned everything not to do!
In 1998 I discovered the first special event smoothie concept at an arts festival in Utah, Maui Wowi. I partnered with the founders and became a franchisor. I discovered I had a knack for not just franchise sales but also helping small business owners succeed.

2. Where and how did the idea of your concept come from?
Teriyaki is ubiquitous in Seattle. Available on seemingly every street corner, mom and pop operators thrive throughout the city yet it is relatively unknown through the rest of the country.

3. What inspired the brand name?
It is based on one of the most famous teriyaki shops in Seattle.

4. What is the story behind the brand’s logo?
It communicates the fire used to cook our food. Plus I think it looks cool.

5. What makes your brand different from your competitors?
Delicious food that is healthy-Not healthy food that claims to be delicious all served in a neighborhood teriyaki shop with a rocket engine of technology under the hood!

6. What are the essential qualities that you look for in a franchisee?
A cultural match of our community that values; hard work, coachability, caring and collaboration.

7. How long does it take, on average, for your franchisee to realize their investment?
It is all over the board. Some see it complete ROI in a couple of years and for some it takes longer.

8. What was the major challenge you faced in your career and how did you overcome it?
A surprise Triple bypass the 2nd week of March 2020. The same week of the Covid ‘shutdown’. I was incapacitated while we were furloughing the team and strategizing our future.

I overcame it because we had built an amazing team. The leaders stepped up, made the tough decisions and while I came through my personal challenges better than ever, so did the company and the team.

8. What is your best achievement?
I take great pride when a franchisee tells me that becoming part of our community changed their life and was the best decision they ever made. The ability to build a company that provides growth opportunity for all of the employees, vendors, franchisees and people involved with TMAD.

9. How does your business day start?
I wake up-“Goal Achieved”!

I review the KPIs for every shop in our system and my emails while walking on the treadmill.

10. What was your best moment throughout your franchise career?
The Sale of Maui Wowi, Doc Popcorn and Raintree so I could purchase my swan song and great achievement, Teriyaki Madness.

11. Where do you see your brand in the next 5 years?
500 units worldwide.

12. Any tips you want to impart to our readers who want to be in the franchise industry?
Patience, fortitude and empathy.

Although a cliche, focus on the success of the franchisees and always be coachable.


Restaurant Business

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