Moe’s Southwest Grill president Paul Damico says his brand’s recent partnership with BJ’s Wholesale Club won’t be the end of Moe’s licensing efforts. In fact, Damico says he hopes to use licensed products to help the brand enter new markets.
“One of the things I’m trying to do as the leader of the brand is to create brand awareness in markets where we are not,” Damico says. “I thought this was an opportunity for us to get the brand name, the quality of the food, [and] talk about our sustainability, in front of people who are not necessarily familiar with Moe’s.”
The partnership with BJ’s installs 17 Moe’s-branded items into each of BJ’s 190 stores. Products include dips, salsas, and salad dressings, among other items.
Damico says he plans to expand Moe’s licensing relationships so the brand can enter new markets, like the West Coast.
“We’re trying to get a larger reach,” Damico says. “Today, we’re in 32 states, and this product, right now, because of the BJ’s relationship, overlays our demographics in the Eastern United States.
“As we start to grow with other license channels, in the supermarket chains and other club chains, we’re going to start to see our products move west. That’s where we start to really introduce the brand to the consumers in this license category.”
Damico says Moe’s has had discussions with large supermarket chains like Publix and Kroger to enter into licensing agreements, though probably not with as many products as will be included at BJ’s.
“When you start to talk about the supermarket chains, you’re talking about tens of thousands of units,” he says.
Despite the exponential growth of the Moe’s brand through the licensing channels, Damico says nothing will change about the company’s culture or quality in these new products.
“We will help create and approve every product that goes into the licensed channels,” he says. “We’ve talked about our Food Mission in the past; we want our Food Mission and the attributes of our culinary and our ingredients to play the same role in our licensing.”
By Sam Oches