Nate Krohn and his wife, Nicole Esslinger, began running Teriyaki Madness in Oshkosh in July 2022. Nate credits many community organizations and the franchise for their assistance in opening this business.
Nate first approached the Oshkosh Chamber of Commerce for help starting his own small business. John Casper and Rob Kleman, staff members at the Chamber, helped open doors for him and point him in the right direction. “It was really eye-opening to learn how much people are willing to help to see me succeed,” Nate said. “The Chamber directed me to seek assistance at the UW Oshkosh Small Business Development Center (SBDC).” The UW Oshkosh SBDC team partnered with the SBDC Capital Access team to assist Nate with financial projections.
“Working with the SBDC’s Capital Access Team was a really good experience. We took our time putting together realistic and conservative financial projections based on franchise history data, average sales ticket prices and more. It’s good to get out and hope to make a difference in the community. Without Dan and his commitment to seeing entrepreneurs get started on the right path for success, it would’ve been a lot harder for me to get my business up and running,” Nate said. “The financial projections made obtaining a bank loan so much easier. Restaurants are considered high risk investments, but the team at Bank First got to know me by name and took time to review my financials.”
He also credits SCORE, the nation’s largest network of volunteer, expert business mentors. “The representative at SCORE took three entire hours out of his day to answer all my questions about franchising and entrepreneurship,” Nate said.
Nate couldn’t be happier with the progress Teriyaki Madness is making. “Every day brings a new set of opportunities and challenges for us, like staffing and rising food costs. We love the chance to provide value to our community and to staff members,” Nate said. He recognizes how much his team really cares about their jobs and their customers. “Many of our staff are high school students and I like to think of this as a place for them to learn, too.”
The community is already benefitting from this new local business. Teriyaki Madness donated a portion of their grand opening sales to the Disabled American Veterans organization. They offer 20% off orders for everyday heroes like teachers and emergency medical service workers. They also offer a high school student discount. Nate looks forward to designing a formal fundraising program in the near future, hopefully in the form of sponsoring a local sports team.
Accomplishments with UW Oshkosh SBDC
- Referral to Capital Access Team
- Financial projections
The support from the franchise during the discovery process was very valuable to Nate and Nicole. “We were able to talk to other franchise owners and learn about their challenges. We asked them specific questions like if they would take the risk of opening all over again and what they would do differently,” Nate said. He loves the marketing assistance that comes from the franchise, as they are very careful to protect their brand. “They even provide training videos and checklists that make my life easier. I know they have my back. They have representatives that negotiate food costs and assess food quality.” The restaurant is proud to serve gluten free options, daily fresh cut vegetables and other high quality ingredients.
When asked about what comes next for this budding business, Nate said, “We are excited to get our Oshkosh location running like a well-oiled machine. Then, we look forward to expanding. We hope to open more locations in Appleton and Green Bay in the next five years.” We wish the best of luck for continued growth and success for Teriyaki Madness.