Industry News | January 21, 2009

Mama Fu's Sets Online Media Straight

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Online franchise news site BlueMauMau.org recently published an article that misattributes a franchise lawsuit to the popular Austin-based Pan-Asian restaurant, Mama-Fu's. The lawsuit, in fact, is filed against the national franchise company, Raving Brands/Mama Fu Noodle House, Inc. (MFNH). The current owner and franchisor for the Mama Fu's brand is Mama Fu's Franchise Group, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Murphy Adams Restaurant Group, LP.

The article misleads readers to believe that the Mama Fu's brand is still owned by Raving Brands/MFNH, when in fact it was purchased by Murphy Adams Restaurant Group, LP in March of 2008 and is in no way affiliated with Raving Brands/MFNH or the current lawsuit.

The three-year lawsuit alleges that Raving Brands fell short of its agreement to provide support, training, and marketing for its franchisees, and was involved in an alleged kickback scheme. The lawsuit against Raving Brands is set to go to trial on February 17, 2009.

Under its new franchise management with Murphy Adams Restaurant Group, the fast-casual Asian brand and its 13 locations throughout Texas, Arkansas and the Southeast region have revamped their overall infrastructure, operational process and customer appearance.

1. Hired experienced management team, headlined by Randy Murphy, the largest Mama Fu's franchisee, and Stephen MacManus, former COO of Carino's Italian Grill.

2. Improved Franchisee Communication and Involvement, including two Franchisee Conferences hosted in Austin, Texas.

3. Created/Updated all Operations, Food & Beverage, Training, Repair and Maintenance, and Staff manuals, plus operational tools for managing Sales, Labor, P&Ls, Inventory, POS systems, Local Store Marketing and Catering.

4. Implemented eight week franchisee and manager training program.

5. Established world-class technological infrastructure including a new consumer website, Email Marketing Program, Franchisee Operations portal, Merchandise Self Fulfillment portal.

6. Rolled out two new sales channels with Online Ordering and Delivery services.

7. Solidified Regional Distribution Program.

8. Repositioned brand creative elements including logo, color palette and menu layout.

9. Reduced food costs through use of more efficient preparation techniques.

10. Redesigned menu based on theoretical food cost and value bundling offers, plus introduced four new menu items.

11. Redesigned Marketing collateral, programs and brand messaging.

12. Redesigned Store Prototype resulting in 20% decrease in turnkey build out costs.

13. Reestablished franchise sales program and are actively selling Franchise Agreements in most of the United States.

"We believe the theme and concept is right for Mama Fu's," says CEO Randy Murphy. "We wanted to take the brand to the next level by dramatically improving our customer touch points, and providing each current and new franchisee exceptional support within our overall infrastructure. All of us at Mama Fu's Franchise Group and Murphy Adams Restaurant Group certainly hope that this historical litigation is kept within context of the parties that created it, and more importantly concluded expeditiously, so the process of healing can begin for all parties involved."