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President and Co-Founder Rod Arreola Talks About His Goals for Turning Teriyaki Madness into a Nationwide Mania
When a trio of relatives — the brothers Arreola and cousin Eric Garma — put their heads together 10 years ago to come up with a concept for their own business, they were drawn to a product they have been crazy about for years. Today, they’re hoping Teriyaki Madness will become a craze nationwide. A recent partnership agreement and trends within the fast casual franchise sector seem to be working in synchronicity to make their dream a reality.
“Nationally, it’s going to take time to build the brand in key markets,” says president and co-founder Rod Arreola, who opened the first Teriyaki Madness in Las Vegas in 2003 with his brother Alan Arreola, his cousin Garma, and another partner. “Really, it’s going to take concerted efforts at the grass roots level to create that buzz.”
New Partnership Changes Growth Plan
This fall, the company announced a new partnership with Franchise Sherpas Inc., a group of experienced franchisors known for its part in helping brands like Doc Popcorn and Maui Wowi grow to be the successful franchise brands they are today. This new partnership has resulted in a revised growth strategy for Teriyaki Madness, and a new goal of having 50 units opened across the country in five years and 200 over the next decade.
It’s an ambitious plan for a a relatively unknown brand, but the objective seems within reach, primarily because of the explosive growth of fast casual restaurants, especially those that serve Asian cuisine.
“The franchise market is saturated with the same old concepts,” Arreola said. “With our concept, it’s fresh and it’s new and it’s in the Asian space, which is really growing in leaps and bounds.”
The fast casual sector, encompassing chains that are a hybrid between fast food (only fancier) and sit-down restaurants (only cheaper), is one of the food industry’s strongest and fastest-growing segments. According to a report released earlier this year by Technomic research group, the top 100 fast casual chains were responsible for $18.9 billion in sales in 2010, a 6 percent increase from 2009, and they were weathering the economy better than other segments of the food industry.
“As popular as Asian cuisines are, however, Asian concepts still occupy a relatively small share of the Top 500 restaurant chains in the U.S., leaving room for chain operators to grow their market share, perhaps more than any other dining segment,” Technomic said in a press release last year.
In addition to the Asian category being among the strongest in the food sector, studies show that consumers are interested in more options. Teriyaki Madness intends to satisfy the public’s hunger, going up against leaders in the category like Panda Express, P.F. Chang’s Pei Wei Asian Diner, and competing directly with Samurai Sam’s Teriyaki Grill.