Value has been at the heart of the fast casual boom and at MOOYAH Burgers, Fries & Shakes, the corporate team has invested time, energy and money into creating a business model to offer Guests an unparalleled burger experience – but within a food cost framework that benefits franchisees.
Samir Wattar, Vice President Of Franchise Development & Supply Chain for MOOYAH, has made this a priority during his five years at the company. He has driven efforts to enhance the quality of MOOYAH’s menu offerings while also leveraging solid relationships with vendors to keep costs low for franchisees in the system, regardless of where they are geographically.
Wattar has engineered a food cost structure unheard of for a chain the size of MOOYAH: the top 40 to 50 items, equaling 80 percent of the costs, are the same price for any franchisee regardless of where they are in the country.
“Our California franchisees pay the same price as the franchisees in Dallas. So that gives them more of a fighting chance to deal with minimum wage and regulation issues that exist in California that don’t exist in Texas,” said Wattar. “You do not need to live in Dallas to get the best prices. You can open anywhere in the country and it’s on us to fight to get you the best prices. It’s not your responsibility, it’s our responsibility. We want our franchisees to run successful restaurants, and it’s our job to get them there. It’s my job to make sure they get quality product at the right price so they don’t have to worry about it and can focus on running the restaurant.”
But while the costs may be low for MOOYAH franchisees, the quality of the product is high. In a category for those touting “better burgers”, MOOYAH has the distinction of serving Certified Angus Beef burgers. The company entered into a partnership with the highly respected brand in 2016. This was during a beef market price spike when many competitors countered those high beef prices by reducing the quality of the burger they served, decreasing the size of their patties or increasing their prices to pass the impact of that spike on to their consumers. MOOYAH doubled down, understanding the value that a Certified Angus Beef partnership would bring Guests.
“MOOYAH worked closely with suppliers of Certified Angus Beef brand products to specify the sizing needed for each burger. That’s when the menu updates and promotions with the brand’s logo kick into action, helping customers in the market place look to MOOYAH for the best burger,” said Certified Angus Beef Director of Broadline Foodservice Sara Scott.
Wattar considers this partnership with Certified Angus Beef to be one of the biggest wins for the brand due to the reputation Certified Angus Beef product has within the industry.
“This is a great thing for us,” said Wattar. “Certified Angus Beef is known for quality. They’ve done a great job marketing that brand and what it stands for. If you get your beef from a licensed Certified Angus Beef rancher, you know you’re getting quality. We’re the better-for-you brand. All you get is quality at MOOYAH. That’s why we wanted to do it. It’s a great product. I truly believe we have the best cheeseburger in the world. It’s so good.”
Family Angus cattle farmers and ranchers created the Certified Angus Beef brand 40 years ago with the goal of bringing top-quality beef to restaurants and homes across the country. The Wooster, Ohio-based company has ten exacting standards for its beef to ensure unrivaled flavor, juiciness and tenderness.
“MOOYAH is serious about food and so are we,” said Scott. “The Certified Angus Beef brand is the perfect accompaniment to MOOYAH’s repertoire – real ice cream shakes, hand cut fries, specialty buns, fresh toppings and fresh-made burgers. Together, we bring our best to your table.”
Through the partnership with Certified Angus Beef, MOOYAH sources its beef from companies that help Certified Angus Beef track every pound of beef to ensure genuine quality. In addition to a guarantee that MOOYAH’s burgers are of the highest quality, Guests can also take pride in knowing that their MOOYAH burgers are coming from beef provided by family-owned farms and ranchers from around the country. However, Wattar added the partnership goes beyond just the quality burgers MOOYAH serves Guests.
“The partnership gives MOOYAH more credibility with more national brands. It opens up the resources that the Certified Angus Beef brand has as far as marketing. We were able to create a good relationship between our marketing team and their marketing team which benefits franchisees. Because of that relationship, we are also contacted regularly by other national vendors and suppliers, which helps us negotiate the best deals and also consider options as we continually work to create the very best burger experience in the segment” said Wattar.
In addition to food costs, Wattar and the MOOYAH corporate team were also recently able to scale back costs on equipment. Through their work, they were able to cut costs on the FF&E package by 12-13 percent for franchisees without sacrificing on quality and also improving the warranty.
As the brand heads into the second half of 2018, the team continues to focus efforts on creating an environment where existing franchisees can thrive and new franchisees are set up for success.
The key to that recipe is establishing and cultivating strong relationships.
“It all goes back to having strong, positive relationships with our vendors. I know that if I have an issue with a shortage on any product, I can pick up the phone and call our vendors and it will be resolved. We aren’t as big as In-And-Out or other burger places, but we have the same deals because our vendors care about us and our business and don’t want to let us down,” said Wattar.