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The Great Franchisees: Kunal Thakur and Ankit Patel, Teriyaki Madness, Lethbridge, CA

The former head of national sales for Kellogg’s in West Africa teamed up with a franchise industry expert to open the fast-growing teriyaki franchise’s first locations in Canada.

Kunal Thakur was working as the Head of National Sales for Kellogg’s in West Africa when he decided to relocate to Lethbridge, Canada with his immediate family to be closer to loved ones. In search of a new business venture, Thakur began researching ideas with his business partner, Ankit Patel, who was already a franchisee with a restaurant brand.

That’s when they discovered Teriyaki Madness, the 75-plus-unit fast-casual teriyaki shop, which had yet to break into the Canadian market.

Now, Thakur and Patel are opening their first of three Teriyaki Madness locations in Lethridge, with plans to open a total of 20 locations in the next 10 years.

1851 Franchise: Tell us your story – what did you do before franchising?

Kunal Thakur: Prior to getting involved with Teriyaki Madness, I was living in West Africa working for Kellogg’s as their Head of National Sales. I decided to move to Lethbridge with my immediate family because we have more extended family and friends in the area. My business partner, Ankit Patel, owns a restaurant franchise and is well-versed in the industry. 

1851: How did you initially find out about franchising and what was your perception of franchising before becoming a franchise owner?

Thakur: I found out about franchising through my business partner, Ankit. From what I gathered from his experience in franchising, he has a lot of support from Corporate, and franchising has been good to him.

1851: How did you decide you wanted to be a franchisee?

Thakur: I always thought, “If I could work for other companies and make them money, why can’t I do that for myself?”

1851: How did you perform your research?

Thakur: Ankit has a lot of insight on franchising, so he helped steer us in the right direction while searching for different opportunities online.

1851: Why did you pick Teriyaki Madness? What excited you most about the potential?

Thakur: Just by the name, we could tell this was a fun-loving brand, and that was further made clear when we met with the corporate team. Whenever I go to quick-service restaurants, I always notice that the food is frozen, not fresh. As a health-conscious person, this was a big turn-off for me, and since Ankit uses fresh meat at his restaurant franchise, we knew that’s what we wanted for our business venture.

1851: What are your dreams with the business? What does the future look like?

Thakur: 10 years down the line, I would like to have 20 Teriyaki Madness stores open. 

1851: What advice would you have for others looking at buying a franchise?

Thakur: Don’t be shy and keep asking questions.

1851: What do you do in your personal time?

Thakur: I enjoy spending time with family, traveling and playing/watching sports.


Fast-casual teriyaki shop franchise Teriyaki Madness is committed to unconditionally satisfying guests by offering delicious, made-to-order, healthy (or not) bowls, apps and sides, prepared with fresh, all-natural ingredients served quickly and at a reasonable price. Guests can enjoy their bowls in the shop, or order through the mobile app for delivery or curbside pickup. Teriyaki Madness has been ranked on Entrepreneur’s Top Food Franchises, FastCasual’s Movers and Shakers in 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, the Inc. 5000 list for three straight years, and was named the fastest-growing restaurant chain in the United States by Restaurant Business in 2021. Founded in 2003, the brand currently has more than 100 shops open, with franchising opportunities nationwide for qualified single and multi-unit candidates. For more information, visit