1851 Franchise sat down with Michael Mabry, President and Chief Operating Officer at MOOYAH Burgers, Fries & Shakes, to talk about his experience in the franchise industry
2016 was a landmark year for MOOYAH Burgers, Fries & Shakes. The Plano, Texas-based fast-casual brand exceeded 100 locations across 20 states and nine countries, and in 2017, MOOYAH continues to pursue an aggressive growth strategy.
MOOYAH’s president and chief operating officer, Michael Mabry, talked to 1851 Franchise about the importance of removing the barrier between corporate and franchisees and why every facet of the brand is oriented around service.
1851: How did you get into franchising?
Mabry: I was a corporate guy for an international hospitality company that worked with a number of restaurant franchises. I’d worked with John Miller, who is now president and CEO at Denny’s but at the time was the president at Romano’s Macaroni Grill. John asked if I was interested in taking on the role of director of franchise operations. At that point, I didn’t know anything about franchising, but all of their franchise locations were international, so it was an exciting opportunity, and I said yes.
1851: What do you love about franchising?
Mabry: I love the idea of entrepreneurship. I like people that have the tenacity and risk tolerance to go into business for themselves. So I’m happy to be surrounded by those people.
1851: What do you wish would change in franchising?
Mabry: The one thing I wish would change, which we are actively working on changing every day, is the barrier between the corporate team and franchisees. We are partners, and without either side of that coin there would be no brand, so there needs to be a fluid interaction between both teams. Promoting that partnership is our top priority.
1851: What makes a great franchisee?
Mabry: A great franchisee has to be a servant leader. Everyone involved with the brand is in the service business. The corporate team exists to serve the franchisees, the franchisees serve the management teams, who serve the hourly team members, who serve the guests. Franchisees have to live that, and they have to encourage that in their staff.
1851: What’s the most important thing that drives a prospective franchisee to sign up?
Mabry: There has to be an emotional connection to the brand. There are so many concepts and so many opportunities, a prospective franchisee is going to select the one that appeals to them on a personal level. They are going to want to be proud to wear the brand’s logo on their chest.