By Cecilla Chan, GSN Managing Editor
Keith and Allison Colson loved eating at Teriyaki Madness so much that the Gilbert couple purchased the existing franchise location at San Tan Village.
“Two words: spicy chicken,” Allison Colson said. “We were eating there three times a week.”
Six months after buying the Gilbert location, the Colsons have now opened a Teriyaki Madness in Chandler.
The Denver-based restaurant reportedly signed a franchise deal in 2016 to expand into the Phoenix market with plans to add 20 locations.
What’s unique about Teriyaki Madness from other eateries with a similar menu is its ingredients, according to Keith Colson, who has an operations background. His wife is a nurse.
“It’s really fresh,” he said. “All the vegetables are fresh, the chicken is never frozen, the rice is high-quality Calrose and our noodles are yakisoba noodles.
“We have a very loyal customer base because the food tastes so good and made to order. It’s not like others where the food is under a heat lamp.”
The Gilbert restaurant’s top seller is the teriyaki chicken, closely followed by the spicy chicken, Keith Colson said.
“In my opinion, the spicy chicken is the best thing on the menu,” Allison Colson added.
Her husband agreed, saying he often eats a bowl of spicy chicken on top of brown rice.
The couple not only oversees the restaurants but often can be found in the kitchen cooking the customers’ orders.
The Colsons already have their sight set on their next franchise location – Queen Creek.
“It’s a big growth area with a lot of infrastructure out there,” Allison Colson said. “If you go to a restaurant on any Friday night, they are packed full.”
Keith Colson saw growth potential with the franchise.
“This place is so healthy,” he said. “It’s not a flash in the pan. It’s something that is going to be around because America is trying to get healthier and I don’t see that going away.”
Consumers are increasingly opting for healthier dining options, according to Technomic, a global research company for the foodservice industry.
They’re making food and beverage choices based on their personal definition of health, such as food described as natural, organic, high in protein or functional such as items to help boost energy or de-stress, according to Technomic.
“The foodservice landscape will become more competitive when it comes to tastier, more innovative healthy menu offerings,” said Maia Chang, Technomic senior research analyst, in a 2018 report.
Key takeaways from the report included 66 percent of consumers look for calorie counts on menus and 34 percent were more likely to order dishes made with vegetables instead of carb-rich items.
Customers have the option of ordering their meals bowl or plate size. Choice for the base is white rice, brown rice, noodles, fried rice or all vegetables, topped with a protein and steamed or stir-fried vegetables and teriyaki sauce.
Menu items include chicken teriyaki, chicken breast teriyaki, spicy chicken, chicken katsu, orange chicken, beef teriyaki and tofu teriyaki. Yakisoba noodle dishes include chicken, tofu, beef and all vegetable.
Appetizer choices are chicken eggroll, chicken potstickers, crab rangoons, edamame and shrimp tempura. Green salads and macaroni salads are also available. All of the menu offerings include a calorie count.
All of the sauces such as the katsu, gyoza and teriyaki are made in-house using top-quality ingredients, Allison Colson said.
“All the sauces are gluten-free,” she said. And “we use a more expensive soy sauce in our recipes to ensure they are gluten-free. It costs us a bit more money, but it’s worth it to offer that.
“I get celiac customers twice a week and we get quite a bit of people with a gluten allergy. The menu clearly states what they can order and we are all educated to answer questions.”
Now that they own their own Teryaki Madness, Allison Colson said she is eating at the restaurant at least five times a week.
“The quality of the food our kitchen produces is excellent,” she said. “I would not hesitate to eat it literally almost every day.”
Information: 3131 S. Market St., Gilbert and 4225 S. Gilbert Road, Chandler. Hours are Monday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.