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Teriyaki Madness to open Fort Collins location

FORT COLLINS — A former police officer and his fishing buddy are opening an Asian fast-casual restaurant on Fort Collins’ north side this week.

The Teriyaki Madness franchise location, in 1,300 square feet of leased space in the North College Marketplace at 1880 N. College Ave., Suite 130, will open with a limited “sneak peek” staff-training event on Wednesday. The first 70 customers who show up between 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. for lunch or between 5 and 6:30 p.m. for dinner will receive a free entree bowl and have the option to buy a drink for $1 and an appetizer for $2. The location will then have a “soft opening” on Thursday and a grand opening on Friday.

Denver-based Teriyaki Madness has 128 units open now in 33 states plus Lethbridge, Alberta, Regina, Saskatchewan, and San Luis Potosi in Mexico, and chief marketing officer Jodi Boyce said it plans to open 59 more shops this year. Locations already open in Northern Colorado include Broomfield, Longmont, Johnstown, Greeley and Firestone.

A meal at that Firestone location and a conversation with its owner, Tim McCurry, helped Bobby Traylor and Justin Ballek decide to open a Teriyaki Madness location in Fort Collins.

Traylor’s family had owned restaurants for 30 years in Cheyenne, Wyoming. A University of Wyoming graduate, he worked in construction but also was a police officer for 15 years. Ballek, a Colorado resident since 2003, has a background in corporate finance.

The pair met while sitting next to each other at their children’s Denver Nuggets Skills Challenge Final. They and their families became best friends and neighbors.

“We kayak fish,” Traylor said, “and I had the idea during COVID to take Justin after we fished to restaurants he’d never been to before.”

While eating at a Raising Cane’s chicken location, they talked about opening their own fast-food restaurant. Traylor knew a real-estate agent who had brokered Teriyaki Madness locations, and  because the chain’s Firestone shop along Interstate 25 seemed a good midpoint between Fort Collins and their children’s softball and basketball activities, the pair stopped there and got the details from McCurry, then made the decision to sign up to bring up to three Teriyaki Madness franchises to Fort Collins.

According to its website, the initial investment range for a Teriyaki Madness location is between $346,000 and $768,760, compared with what it says is the average initial investment in the fast-casual restaurant industry of $764,395. According to the website, the average unit volume for a Teriyaki Madness unit is $1,161,201.

Starting up in the post-pandemic era hasn’t seemed to slow Teriyaki Madness’ growth, Boyce said.

“A lot of it’s based on the technology and support we offer,” she said, noting that even before COVID the company had an app and a system for ordering integration with third-party delivery. “So we didn’t have to pivot too much, just crank up the volume and let people know about how they could get food into their hands,” she said. “In fact, some of our best years ever were 2020 and 2021.”

She said supply-chain and labor issues in 2022 posed more of a challenge, “but we have a pretty robust system,” as well as strong support from restaurant-food suppliers “to get the right food into our shops.”

Traylor and Ballek said opening a new venture in the current atmosphere wasn’t really an issue.

“I don’t think there’s any good time to do things,” Traylor said. “Who knows what it’ll be in a year or two?” Ballek added that “we’ve already had plenty of experience with supply-chains, and the availability is pretty good. Whatever you need, those suppliers work hard to find it for you. Everyone’s working hard to make sure everything along the chain is working smoothly.

The chain’s Mad University platform “allows our shops to thoroughly train our employees and create retention,” Boyce said. “Although it’s not perfect, we’re definitely making headway.”

Traylor and Ballek test-marketed their Asian-themed bowls Sunday by giving them away to staffers and customers at the nearby King Soopers, as well as to a local fire station and the Northside Aztlan Community Center. “The comments we’ve gotten so far are that these portions are huge,” Traylor said.

The pair said their goal is to make the restaurant a staple in north Fort Collins, a healthier alternative to burgers and tacos. They described the north side as a fantastic neighborhood with a lot of great people, but also one that needs some more diverse food options.

“We’re really excited to open up there,” Boyce said. “There’s a bunch of people in our office who went to (Colorado State University) and even grew up there, so we’re excited to bring the madness to Fort Collins.”

Source: BizWest