MOOYAH Burgers, Fries & Shakes Expands in New Markets; Hires Operational Services VP

by Katie Lee

Plano, Texas — MOOYAH Burgers, Fries & Shakes, a 90-plus-unit better burger franchise, has spent the first quarter opening three new locations and planning for an additional 13 openings for the rest of the year. MOOYAH is expanding in St. Louis, Mo.; Lubbock, Texas; Phoenix; Southern California; Dallas-Fort Worth; Boca Raton, Fla.; and Boston.

“There are some pretty obvious places that we’re trying to fill in,” says Doug Willmarth, president and COO. “We have core markets in the Sun Belt from California to Florida, and we are filling in those territories while building our growing brand presence in the Midwest.”

The three most recent openings occurred in Carlsbad, Calif., in partnership with Green Madness Group; Gallatin, Tenn., owned by Jake and Erin Rightmyer; and Fairfield, Calif., owned by Indy Pahwa, who is also president of Bay Valley Development.

The brand is working to lay a foundation to sign 15 new franchisees to join the brand by the end of the year. With a new prototype rolling out, which decreases square footage and optimizes for off-premise sales; the first drive-thru location in construction; and new franchise owner incentives launching in April, Willmarth says he is looking forward to strong demand for franchisees in the coming quarters.

“MOOYAH will be accelerating our unit growth significantly in the next 3 years, and the new incentive creates a great opportunity for new franchise owners to increase their returns,” Willmarth says.

In order to better support new franchise owners through the brand’s aggressive expansion, MOOYAH added a new executive to the corporate team: vice president of ops services.

Gary Lisenbee

“Gary Lisenbee has a really strong background in restaurant training, operations support and franchise owner engagement. Gary is a critical addition to the leadership team,” says Willmarth.

“We’ve been strengthening the executive leadership and recognizing that, with this growth initiative in place, we need our training and operational support to be as strong as it can be.”

Willmarth adds that this hire signifies an evolution of the brand. For the first time ever, there is a member of the leadership team specifically dedicated to operational services who will support each restaurant in launching and running more efficiently.

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SOURCE: MOOYAH Burgers, Fries & Shakes

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