bannerFranchisee Stories

Multi-Unit Jersey Mike’s Subs Franchisees To Introduce Teriyaki Madness To Connecticut

With eight units set for development, Ken Schanke and Audrey Poynton are passionate about making a difference in their community for customers and employees.

Ken Schanke and Audrey Poynton, the dynamic couple that has signed on to introduce Teriyaki Madness to Connecticut for the first time, bring a wealth of experience to the franchising world. The duo spent 25 years with AT&T Advertising Solutions and pioneered online advertising with The Real Yellow Pages and also embarked on a franchising journey with Jersey Mike's Subs, successfully setting up four outlets in Northern Connecticut. 

They gravitated towards Teriyaki Madness because of the brand's offerings and values, summed up in what Ken calls the three P's: Product, People and Passion. They initially signed up to open three TMAD locations and now committed to another five. Their vision is not just business expansion, but also providing opportunities for their employees to grow, even aspiring to own their own shop one day. 

1851 Franchise: Frame your personal story for us. What did you do before franchising, and how did you decide franchising made sense for you?

Ken Schanke: Both of us worked with AT&T advertising solutions for 25 years, as well as with one of the first online advertising sites with The Real Yellow Pages After that, we retired from the corporate world and ended up looking at different franchise opportunities. At the time, five years ago, we actively pursued Jersey Mike’s Subs. Today, we own four Jersey Mike’s in Northern Connecticut. We are one of the pioneers of that brand in New England. 

1851: What was your perception of franchising prior to becoming a franchisee, and what do you want people to know about franchising now that you are in it?

Ken Schanke: Coming from a sales and operations background, we were looking for something that was very structured. We wanted a blueprint that we could follow but that would still give us the freedom to be creative and adapt to changes. Franchising appealed to us in that way and also gave us the opportunity to give back to the community. Our restaurant group is called Meraki, which means doing everything with heart, soul and passion. We wanted a franchise brand that represented our core values in that way. 

1851: What made you pick this brand? What excites you most about this company?

Ken Schanke: When we are looking at a business, we always go back to the three P’s: Product, Passion and People. Teriyaki Madness offers a fresh product, made-to-order and never pre-packaged. It also allows us to connect with people in the community and the people who work with us. And it is something we are passionate about because the brand has the right core values. 

Audrey PoyntonWe also went with Teriyaki Madness because of the corporate support and training in place. It is also about the personalities of the leadership team. You have to know you will enjoy working with the team and develop a healthy relationship. And, of course, the food. We want to make sure we really love what we are selling, and Teriyaki Madness was a healthy concept that we could be proud of. The younger generations are looking for healthier concepts, good portion sizes, fresh ingredients, etc. We loved the Teriyaki Madness concept, and we can’t wait to open our location so we can eat there every day! 

1851: What do you hope to achieve with your business? What are your plans for growth? 

Ken SchankeWe originally signed on for three units, but we just recently signed on for an additional five. Our main goal is to eventually provide opportunities for our team members who may want to own a shopof their own. People dream about owning their own business and having a better life than their parents, so we feel like this is a great opportunity to support that dream and help the people we care about live the life they want to live. 

1851: What advice do you have for other people thinking about becoming a franchise owner?

Audrey Poynton: Don’t be afraid to take the risk. If you think you are going to fail, you will fail. If you think you will do great things, you will do great things. 

Ken Schanke: Make it fun. It is work. You do have to be profitable, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it. We spend 65% of our life working, so why not create a great work environment? There is nothing wrong with having fun.

The initial investment required to open a Teriyaki Madness franchise ranges from $312,500 and $731,260. Learn more here:


Teriyaki Madness is making big moves. Named the #1 Fastest-Growing Big Restaurant Chain in the U.S. by Restaurant Business, TMAD’s secret sauce lies in creating value for franchisees, guests and employees alike. More than 130 shops across three countries deliver big, heaping bowls of fresh, natural ingredients to their communities, creating a cult-like following with customers, employment opportunities for neighborhoods and profitable margins for the operators. Backed by world-class delivery and loyalty innovations and an all-star executive team, Teriyaki Madness’ focus is on sustainable growth and exceptional experiences. Visit for single- and multi-unit opportunities, and join the Teriyaki Takeover.