ST. GEORGE — Businesses across the country are beginning to recognize the potential of St. George.
With a growing footprint across the United States, Teriyaki Madness will host a grand opening at the Red Rock Commons Plaza in St. George Thursday morning.
To celebrate the grand opening, franchise owner Travis Ficklin is offering free teriyaki bowls for a year to the first five people through the door. The perk provides 24 cards redeemable for two free bowls each month to the first five customers, four free bowls each week for one month to the next 20 customers, and $5 dollar regular chicken teriyaki bowls through Friday.
Ficklin was introduced to Teriyaki Madness about 15 years ago as a consumer. The food became such a big hit with his children, who, he said, would eat it every day if they could.
A resident of Southern Utah for nearly a decade, Ficklin decided to open a Teriyaki Madness because of the lack of restaurants that offer teriyaki food in town. It was a “no brainer” to open St. George’s first shop, he said.
“The location is perfect, and it’s a perfect opportunity,” he said. “I’ve always thought they need the madness here. There really isn’t too much great teriyaki here in St. George. It really is different than anything else.”
With a soft opening earlier this week, the response has been great, Ficklin said. Customer lines were out the door. During the first chance for consumers to order, the restaurant made 103 teriyaki bowls in 90 minutes as a test run to see how well the staff would do.
In less than one hour, the restaurant sold out. Ficklin praised everyone from his corporate trainers to his staff for the success.
Even before the soft opening, the interest was growing.
“It was amazing the number of people who grabbed our door during training and even during construction,” Ficklin said. “Our corporate trainers made the comment the other day that they have opened many stores, but this is a first with the door being grabbed so many times prior to opening.”
The brand is dedicated to spreading this type of madness.
The business concept was recently recognized by Entrepreneur Magazine as a franchise 500 company, the top food franchise of 2019, Franchise Business Review for their top 50 Franchise Satisfaction Award for 2015 and 2016, and FastCasual’s 2019 Movers and Shakers.
CEO Michael Haith is pumped up about the growth of his business, especially throughout Utah.
Founded in 2003 in Seattle, Teriyaki Madness restaurants soon branched out to Las Vegas. They now have 70 shops in 34 states with 250 locations in the franchise pipeline throughout the U.S. A second location is scheduled to open in St. George this summer.
“We are really excited about making an impact in Utah,” Haith said. “We believe it is a great market for us. People there really take their eating out seriously.”
Haith came in as an investor about eight years ago and ended up loving the business model decided to buy the company, move the headquarters to Denver, and keep growing.
“We do big teriyaki bowls that included fresh, all-natural (ingredients),” Haith said. “We also include vegetables and high-quality rice and noodles. The bowls are customizable, whether it is a low carb option, low sodium or gluten-free.”
The business model seeks to provide good food at a good price.
Options include a wide variety of teriyaki bowls with a choice of different chicken options, steak, salmon, tofu and yakisoba style. To round out the menu there are appetizers that include chicken eggrolls, edamame, crab rangoon and chicken potstickers.
Stir-fried veggies or special orders such as broccoli only and rice bowls are also available.
While several base menu items are high in carbohydrates and sodium, something many shy away from, there are alternatives to modify any nutritional value.
“Because it is customizable, people can really take control with something that is really delicious,” Haith said.”Our mantra is that we offer delicious food that is healthy, we are not healthy food that is delicious.”
The goal is to eat like a “normal” person but have the ability to control a few key items to fit everyone’s dietary needs. People don’t want “fancy diets,” Haith said, people just want good food that is not going to “kill” them.
When asked why he wanted to target St. George for multiple franchise opportunities, Haith said it is about Southern Utah’s growth and the healthy lifestyle most residents embrace.
“I like St. George a lot,” Haith said. “The people are a little more adventures in their eating habits … and people pay attention to what they are eating.”
While it is hard for many to break away from the supersize, fast food, deep-fried, grab-and-go lifestyle, Haith added, there have to be options at any restaurant that gives the consumer the chance to eat as healthy as they want to eat.
The grand opening will take place at 10:30 a.m. Thursday at 15 S. River Road in the Red Rock Commons Plaza, adjacent to Dick’s Sporting Goods.
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