One of MOOYAH’s original franchisees shares his thoughts on the brand’s growth, culture and what he’s learned in five years of owning a business
Originally from Fort Worth, Texas, Bailey McGuire worked in Chicago and Denver before returning to his home state to open the 12th MOOYAH Burgers, Fries & Shakes location in Burleson. He’s now been with the brand for five years and has since opened a second restaurant in Dallas. 1851 spoke with Bailey about his longtime plan to own a business, and, in addition to offering advice to future franchisees, he explained how the great relationship he developed with the corporate team led him to sign with MOOYAH.
What was your perspective about franchising prior to joining?
To be honest, I never planned to get into franchising or the food industry. I always planned to open my own business and be my own boss, but franchising hadn’t crossed my mind. I worked in corporate marketing for six years and really enjoyed it, but eventually I wanted to do my own thing. For a first business, though, I knew it was great to have a support system from corporate.
Why did you choose MOOYAH?
My brother-in-law Frank is my business partner, and we bounced some ideas around and landed on MOOYAH because we were already connected to the brand. Frank was doing some real estate work helping the company find areas for development. I knew MOOYAH would be a great opportunity; it was a young brand looking for franchisees to help them grow. We were young, inexperienced and didn’t have the money that you normally would when trying to start a business. I really liked the corporate team and the entire concept, what they stood for and what they were trying to build. Frank and I were willing to take the risk on them if they were willing to take one on us.
What other brands did you look at before MOOYAH?
At the time that we signed with MOOYAH, Frank and I weren’t really looking at anything else, nor did we know what direction we wanted to go. The franchise was an opportunity that presented itself, and we loved the people more than anything so it just kind of made sense.
What is the top thing you think people don't understand about franchising?
There are a lot of people who think we’re sitting back and being told what to do. Franchisees want to be involved. There are a lot of really smart people, and as a team we can help build something great.
Franchisees often get asked, “are you an entrepreneur or not?” and I do think that gets confusing. We pay for a concept that’s already been built, but it’s completely up to the franchisees on how we run our business. There may be brands that get guests based solely on the name, but the success is based on the ownership, not the brand. You have to run the business to the best of your ability to truly succeed. It’s not just about following the guidebook you’ve been given, but rather improving it and constantly crafting new strategy.
How has being a franchisee changed your life?
The food industry is an animal of its own. You’re always on call; you have to be on standby constantly in case something goes wrong. The one thing I didn’t expect was the people. I love getting to know and learning about young people and their lives, what they’ve gone through and overcome. They’ve made me a better person, and I try to do what I can to help them in return.
I had a lot of motivation, opportunity and help getting where I am. Not everyone working for me has that, and it’s made me really want to focus on my employees and give them opportunities as well. They’re going to work harder for me if I’m invested in them. Whether it’s a job, a career or a paycheck, I’m trying to teach them to use it as a stepping stone.
I never expected the way my employees would affect me and make me a better person. It’s been a very humbling experience.
Why should someone buy MOOYAH?
MOOYAH isWe’re about to open our 100th store and I feel very invested in the brand. I went through a lot of growing pains and heartache over the past five years. We crossed a lot of milestones – 20, 50, 80 stores – and now we’re at 100, and it’s such an accomplishment. In the past year, corporate has harnessed the ability to hire the right people to care for and support their franchisees. It’s the perfect time to get involved. The menu, structure and support team are better than ever.
What advice would you have for someone looking to become a franchisee?
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