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Longtime Firehouse Subs Franchisee Finds New Success With Teriyaki Madness

Elias Saucedo left a decade-long career in banking and finance to pursue personal growth and financial freedom and found it through franchising.

By Jeff DwyerStaff Writer
9:09AM 01/09/24

Despite only being in his early 40s, Elias Saucedo has already forged an impressive entrepreneurial journey. Saucedo, whose business ownership experience officially started in 2014, has operated two successful Firehouse Subs locations; his own Mexican restaurant; and more recently, has become the Laredo, Texas-based Teriyaki Madness franchisee. 

But how did he get to where he is today?

Saucedo’s Journey Into Franchising 

Saucedo was born in Chicago but moved with his family to Mexico when he was young. This is where he believes his entrepreneurial spirit was formed. 

In 2000, he became a full-time college student in Texas while working different full-time jobs.

“Some of those jobs were in fast food, which I found very comfortable,” said Saucedo. “For me, it was a job that came very easy. I wasn’t fed up or angry when I left work at night. It was interacting with people and enjoying the fast-paced environment. Sitting down at a desk all day was not something I could do.”

After college, he started working in the banking industry. Saucedo spent 12 years in various roles, including retail banking and lending. Then, in 2014, he decided it was time for a change. He knew he didn’t want to work a traditional desk job for the rest of his life, so he began exploring other opportunities. Reflecting on his experiences, Saucedo thought of his time in the restaurant industry and decided he wanted to open a fast-casual eatery. 

“I loved the restaurant industry, but I’m not a cook,” he said. “So what could I do? I thought maybe the franchise model. In 2014, I opened my first restaurant with Firehouse Subs. That is how I started in franchising. After reaching max growth with Firehouse Subs, I started looking into alternative brands.” 

With two franchises under his belt, Saucedo was ready for the next step in his journey. So, in 2021, during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, he launched his own Mexican restaurant concept called Tremendo Taco. Despite being responsible for three restaurants, Saucedo yearned for more. 

Investing In Teriyaki Madness

Saucedo didn’t have to look far when it came to his next business venture. As it turned out, before investing in Firehouse Subs, Saucedo was already familiar with Teriyaki Madness (TMAD), the fast-casual brand that serves fresh Japanese-inspired teriyaki bowls. 

“TMAD was one of the brands I first saw way back when I first franchised, so I was already in contact with the team,” said Saucedo. “The product was the first thing that blew me away. Once I had the experience of opening my own restaurant, I went back to the drawing table and started seriously talking with TMAD. We went to visit the team in Denver. From then on, everything took off, and I fell in love with the concept and the leadership team.”

After being impressed by the brand’s product and its ambitious leadership team, the decision to invest wasn’t difficult for Saucedo. He signed an agreement to open one restaurant in Laredo, Texas. After his first year, he intends to reassess the market and surrounding areas and potentially open additional locations. 

“My main goal is to become the go-to favorite Asian fusion concept in the city,” he said. 

Laying a Foundation

With 2024 marking his 10th year in the franchising space, Saucedo is now laying the foundation for the future of his life and businesses. While he may consider opening additional TMAD locations, he has also revealed that he is interested in becoming a franchisor himself. 

Additionally, he also aims to leverage his decade-long experience to educate others about the franchising space and support individuals in pursuing their entrepreneurial dreams. 

“If you do good for others, it’s going to come back to you somehow,” he concluded.