MOOYAH Burgers, Fries & Shakes - Executive Q&A

 

Michael Mabry, President and Chief Operating Officer

What about MOOYAH Burgers, Fries & Shakes makes it unique within its industry?
From a company standpoint, what makes MOOYAH unique within the industry is our people. Our culture is so important to us. The idea of having focused team members that are passionate about the brand is #1. Assuming that we get that accomplished, the next piece of the puzzle is to deliver on the experience -- both the service experience and the food experience. 

From a service standpoint, we work hard to exceed Guest expectations - from delivering the food to the table to refilling drinks to pre-bussing in the dining room. This may sound elementary in the fast casual world, but we try to go above and beyond on that service aspect. As we are servicing our Guests at each individual restaurant, we aim to really become one with our community. The franchisee and general manager know who their Guests are that walk in the door because they are active in the community.

From a food standpoint, we serve the absolute freshest and best ingredients we can. We recently started using Certified Angus Beef®, which is never frozen. Our hand-cut french fries are cooked to order. We make our milkshakes with real ice cream. Our non-GMO buns are baked in-house twice a day. If we concentrate and execute on those fundamentals, then it should exceed Guest expectations. 

What have been some of the brand's most important milestones over the past five years?
As of June 2017, MOOYAH is under new ownership -- Balmoral Group and Gala Capital Partners, led by franchising veteran Anand Gala. This is incredibly important for the growth of our brand. Gala has been a franchisee and has walked a mile in their shoes and is still doing it today. His perspective is from that of a franchisee and there’s a lot we can learn from him as we continue to expand the brand.

In addition, we’ve worked hard on building up our corporate staff. We have passionate professionals in each of the business silos -- marketing, training, finance, development, operations, procurement, and more -- so they can service our franchisees. 

Our commitment to menu innovation and upgrades has also been an important milestone. In addition to using only Certified Angus Beef®, we’ve added chicken to the menu, both grilled and fried. We actually bread and fry chicken in-house. We’ve also moved to using trays in the restaurants. We used to serve everything in bags. 

We celebrated our tenth birthday in July 2017. We held a systemwide birthday party with eating events, in-store promotions and we donated nearly $15,000 to No Kid Hungry to aid in the fight against child hunger. 

What plans does MOOYAH have in the coming years?
We will continue to strengthen the development of our people and ongoing training within our restaurants. We’ll be focused on coming up with programs and responsibilities that people can grab hold of and be excited to be a part of something. 

We’ll also be furthering our menu innovation. We’ll take some items off the menu for ease of use by our Guests, and we’re going to be lowering prices to stay competitive in the marketplace.

What does an ideal franchisee look like?
The ideal MOOYAH Burgers, Fries & Shakes franchisee is dedicated to the brand and a servant leader.  The expectation is not necessarily that you have to work a shift every day but you have to be engaged in your business every day. You don’t have to have restaurant experience to be successful but you need leadership experience to be successful. 

Our franchisees have strong leadership within the community and within the restaurant. We want people that are able and willing to follow a system but it’s just as important to us that someone is able and willing to question the system to make us better. We love when our franchisees identify something that can strengthen our brand and we’re able to roll it out nationally.

Why is MOOYAH Burgers, Fries & Shakes a good investment?
The restaurant business in itself is not a job -- it's really a lifestyle. If you want to invest in a lifestyle that is centered around serving and creating jobs and excitement in a community, then MOOYAH is the right fit for you. A lot of blood, sweat and tears goes into it but there sure is a lot of satisfaction. That satisfaction comes from serving a Guest their very first MOOYAH burger and watching them bring their friends and family back, or from identifying an entry level team member and moving him or her up the system. If you can accomplish these things, and make some money while you’re at it, you’ve put all the pieces of the lifestyle together.