MOOYAH believes that a good burger should be available no matter where you are. Behind that philosophy, the Texas-based better burger franchise has explored the viability of a variety of non-traditional locations as part of the overall growth strategy. For more than a decade, while continuing to focus on opportunities to set up shop in endcaps and other traditional fast casual spots, MOOYAH has also been creative in finding nooks and crannies where the brand can thrive.
“Since our founding just over ten years ago, the number and type of real estate options has drastically evolved and opened up some tremendous opportunity for franchisees and the MOOYAH brand. With non-traditional locations, we are able to establish a strong restaurant in a popular area where we can capture a new audience and enhance our brand awareness to drive interest for future traditional development within the market,” said Jordan Duran, Director of Franchise Sales for MOOYAH.
Just recently, MOOYAH opened its first ever location inside a casino at the Tiverton Casino Hotel in Tiverton – also the company’s first Rhode Island location – which is owned by franchisee BD Patel and was led by MOOYAH development agent Jay Hummer. The bet had an early payoff with the location outpacing the brand’s average opening week and Hummer sees even more opportunity in exploring similar options.
“There has been a lot of buzz in the Tiverton community since they first broke ground on the casino and hotel a little over a year ago and we are thrilled to be a part of it,” said Hummer. “This gives us the chance to serve a variety of people both from the area and coming in town to visit, which helps continue our mission to spread the MOOYAH experience even further throughout the northeast.”
Additionally, the company recently opened a new location in Richardson, Texas, in CityLine, a growing mixed-use development featuring restaurants, entertainment and retail.
“The variety and customization along with the quality that we offer helps drive our success in non-traditional locations. Since we opened at CityLine in Richardson, we’ve had multiple people say how good the product is and how nice it is to have a brand that offers such variety and flavor. We have gotten a lot of praise for that,” said Jim Tripple, Franchise Operations Manager for MOOYAH, who oversees all of the company’s non-traditional locations except the recent Rhode Island casino spot.
The MOOYAH is part of the growing number of dining options at CityLine Kitchen and maximizes sales at the breakfast and lunch dayparts, open from 7:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on weekdays.
“MOOYAH brings to CityLine a delicious product in a convenient and welcoming atmosphere,” Jessica Robertson, director of marketing for CityLine said. “This gives those working at or near the development another great breakfast or lunch option to enhance their overall experience.”
However, the focus on non-traditional locations isn’t a new phenomenon for MOOYAH as they aim to maximize real estate options for franchisees – the company continues to see success with locations opened in the past. MOOYAH has four established locations with Aramark and a fifth opening at Northwest Missouri State University in the coming months. The company also has a location with Sodexo at Dallas Baptist University. Before the end of 2018, MOOYAH will be opening a mall location in Oviedo, Florida, similar to another successful non-traditional location at New Orleans’s Riverwalk outlet shopping center.
The Riverwalk MOOYAH opened in the spring of 2014 and is owned by 2017’s Franchisees of the Year, Khai and Kaleb Duong. The MOOYAH fits in approximately 600 square feet and is flanked by other complimentary restaurants such as Häagen-Dazs, Auntie Anne’s and New Orleans staple Café Du Monde, and benefits from foot traffic coming from shoppers who are coming and going from stores like Calvin Klein, Forever 21, GAP, Nordstrom Rack, Sunglass Hut, Tommy Bahama and more. The Riverwalk MOOYAH is routinely one of the highest performing units in the system.
Khai Duong said that the simplicity of the MOOYAH model and a focus on strong operations has created a thriving restaurant.
“A lot of other concepts are slower and more complicated. Our simplified menu and operations lends itself to a non-traditional location. We can have your burgers and fries ready for you in five minutes, in the bag, and ready to go. It’s important to have a great team that is trained properly,” said Duong.
Duong added that the brothers knew the renovated Riverwalk was going to be a popular destination when they decided to open a MOOYAH there – and the location generated more than $1-million in sales in its first year. Traffic comes from locals and tourists, both heavily from the nearby convention center and cruise ship terminal.
MOOYAH has also found a home serving students and faculty at The Hub at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington too. The UNCW location opened right before fall semester in 2017 as part of a partnership with Aramark and is right near freshman housing and open until 2 a.m. to provide students with a savory late night study or post partying dining option. It’s the best performing of the brand’s Aramark locations.
“It’s been very well received. It’s located by the freshman dorms. The students rave about MOOYAH and love having the variety and customization. They even have extended hours where they are open until midnight on the weeknights and 1 or 2 a.m. on the weekends. They have very limited options late at night and we help fill that gap,” said Tripple.
Echoing Duong, Tripple added that with non-traditional locations, operations are key. The company focuses on training the team to be able to handle smaller windows with a higher volume of traffic as many non-traditional locations do the same volume in an hour and a half that more traditional locations will do over three hours.
“Maximizing the processes, advanced prep and having a team that is ready to go is vital for non-traditional locations,” said Tripple. “We’ve put things in place to anticipate the rush that’s coming and have the first wave of orders ready to go, and have added prep for the next wave that we anticipate. We’ve also introduced a successful Grab & Go option at our college locations which will be rolling out at UNCW soon where we have warm burgers out on the counter for students trying to grab something quick between classes. They can walk in, grab their burger of choice, pay and go. It’s more convenient for them and leads to better sales for us.”
More information on the MOOYAH franchise opportunity can be found at http://mooyahfranchise.com/.