“Welcome to Moe’s!” can now be heard on the streets of Guatemala City for the first time. Moe’s Southwest Grill, the Mexican restaurant franchise opened its first location in Guatemala this summer.

Moe’s in Guatemala City is the first of 10 new restaurants to open in Guatemala, El Salvador, and neighboring Central American countries over the next eight years. The demand for southwestern cuisine has been growing in the Central American region since the first Moe’s location opened in Costa Rica in 2012.

“Moe’s appeals to customers in Guatemala because of the restaurant’s welcoming atmosphere, fresh ingredients and customizable menu,” says Paul Damico, president of Moe’s Southwest Grill. “We are excited about our first entrance into Central America and guests seem to feel the same way—with long lines and a full dining room since it opened its doors.”

Moe’s Southwest Grill currently touts more than 550 locations domestically and is set to support more than 80 additional domestic openings in 2014. Moe’s parent company, FOCUS Brands also handles overseas expansion for Carvel Ice Cream, Cinnabon, Schlotzsky’s Deli, Auntie Anne’s Pretzels, and McAlister’s Deli. The company expects to open more than 220 units internationally for all its franchise brands by the end of 2014. Target international development markets for Moe’s include the UK and Australia, where the demand for fast casual Mexican food is expected to steadily increase.

“We are thrilled to expand our footprint into Central America to share our unique brand in the region,” says Tony Pavese, president of FOCUS Brands International.

“Consumer demand in international markets is high for Moe’s and we are excited for opportunities to partner with qualified franchisees to grow our presence in new countries.”

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