Marc Verderame, MOOYAH Burgers, Fries & Shakes’ newest franchise owner, has signed the brand's largest development deal to date. Originally from New York, the restaurant industry veteran is bringing his expertise to the better-burger franchise, opening 15 new locations in Palm Beach County over the next 10 years.
MOOYAH has been riding a wave of expansion and is currently on track to add 45 new locations by the end of 2023 to its 90-unit, fast-casual franchise system. Verderame saw this expansion as a chance to turn his years of experience in franchising into a new opportunity in the Palm Beach area.
As the son of the owner of multiple New York City pizzerias, Verderame grew up around the restaurant business. After working in construction, he branched out into franchising, eventually becoming a multi-unit franchisee for Golden Corral in Palm Beach County. Now, he plans to open the first of 15 new MOOYAH Palm Beach locations in the first quarter of 2022.
“The construction industry was changing, and we always had little restaurants up in New York, but we were looking to relocate to Florida,” he says. “We were already in the restaurant business, so we wanted to pursue it more. In 2012, we were the first franchisees to open a store for another big burger chain in South Florida. Wanting to expand our portfolio in the area, we were looking at another brand when we found MOOYAH, and it was perfect.”
Why make the choice to partner with MOOYAH? For Verderame, it came down to all-around quality — quality food, quality atmosphere, quality time and a top-notch, high-quality corporate team providing support.
“The first time I visited a MOOYAH, everything looked and tasted so fresh,” Verderame says. “It felt like a fun, family environment, and the burgers were really good. The whole crew was great through all our meetings. They have a great training system to get all the coworkers and managers to buy into the brand and do it the right way.”
Of course, the brand’s ongoing success factored into his decision to sign MOOYAH’s biggest development deal yet. In 2020, an otherwise challenging time for the restaurant industry, 18 MOOYAH stores joined the franchise’s Million Dollar Club — a group of restaurants that have brought in at least $1 million in sales.
“Systemwide, MOOYAH grew by 10% during the pandemic, while also finalizing our new drive-thru concept,” says Mike Sebazco MOOYAH Vice President of Operations and Development. “With two drive-thrus projected to open this year, MOOYAH continues to offer more convenience to its loyal and enthusiastic Guests.”
Verderame urged other potential MOOYAH owners to focus on what they believe in when choosing a brand to partner with.
“I’m hoping for more than 15 stores in this county eventually, and I know we’ll grow with MOOYAH and be very successful together,” Verderame adds. “There’s a huge population down here to serve, and we look forward to finally introducing MOOYAH to Palm Beach County.”
With locations currently in 22 states from California to Virginia and Montana to Texas, a full pipeline of new locations and a guest base that’s more loyal than ever, MOOYAH is riding a wave of expansion in 2021. And even with its monumental growth, the brand still has opportunities for exclusivity in some major markets for qualified franchise owners. Target markets include Columbus, Houston, Las Vegas, Tampa, Orlando, Phoenix, Raleigh/Durham, Nashville, Atlanta and Richmond.