Industry News | May 9, 2011

Mooyah Inks Deals to 'Carry the Torch' Coast to Coast

While many concepts tend to focus on a carefully calculated, region-by-region expansion in their pursuit of brand growth, Texas-based burger company Mooyah Burgers plans to ride the “better-burger” wave from coast to coast in the next 10 years.

Mooyah announced that it signed development deals for Connecticut, Maryland, Western Oklahoma, Eastern Tennessee, Virginia, and Washington, D.C., and there are already plans for 450 stores to open in the next decade.

Alan Hixon, president of Mooyah, says the company plans to expand with the help of multiunit, multiconcept operators who have the infrastructure and capital necessary to hit the ground running with development.

“The development-agent structure basically allows us to train these teams of people that already have resources that they can dedicate to Mooyah exclusively,” Hixon says. “We work specifically with them, so in a fairly reasonable amount of time, we have built, for lack of a better description, subsidiary companies throughout the country that carry the torch for us.”

Hixon says cross-country growth for a small chain—Mooyah today has 19 open locations and just started franchising in 2007—is not risky “if you have put the cart and the horse in the right place.”

“Rather than tell [potential operators] ‘no’ and wait until several years from now when we’re ready to go there, we see it as an opportunity to create additional hubs,” Hixon says.

Even in this economic climate, with financing for new stores still difficult to obtain, Hixon says Mooyah is finding a number of potential operators who’ve already cleared that hurdle.

“We’ve certainly had a number of people approach us, and they’ve got their problems like everybody, but capital isn’t one of them,” Hixon says. “There are a lot of those people out there.”

The better-burger category is especially one that is in hot demand from strong developers, Hixon says, because it is increasingly popular with customers across the country.

But even with strong competitors in the growing category—including chains like Smashburger, Elevation Burger, and The Counter—Hixon is confident that the Mooyah product and service structure will keep it toward the top of the better-burger heap. He also believes the category is not at risk of oversaturation.

“I think you’ll have some clear concepts that capture the No. 1, the No. 2, and the No. 3 spot, and then you’ll have some regionally based powerhouse players, and most everybody else falls out,” he says. “And we’ve seen that happen now to numerous segments throughout history.”

By Sam Oches

News and information presented in this release has not been corroborated by QSR, Food News Media, or Journalistic, Inc.


Concepts like Mooyah's and Five Guy's cannot sustain the growth they are currently experiencing, for the simple reason they over price the product. I believe they can do well in airports, sport stadiums and the like with a captive audience, but outside that I believe you will see limited success over the coming years. 99.9% of the people I ask about Mooyah's or Five Guy's say the same thing, "Yeah I ate their ONCE" will they build a core following? No doubt, this core will not be big enough for any reasonable sales growth, if any sales growth at all. Do they serve a good burger? Yes they do. Is a meal consisting of a burger, fry and coke from Mooyah's or Five Guy's worth twice what you would pay at say, McDonald's? Hardly. It's simple not worth the price period. If they trying to go after the 6 figure population good luck with that.

Why not go with a 100% organic grass fed beef burger? Half the price and twice as healthy. Elevation is staged to perform better than Mooya on all front.

Have you seen the Five Guys sales numbers...pretty astonishing. They are the leader in the Emerging Chain market with 190 new units in 2010 and another couple hundred scheduled for 2011. This could not happen without groupies everywhere. Their product is worth the extra $ for the mushrooms alone. Nothing like a bacon cheeseburger topped with sliced Baby Portabella's.... mouthwatering. The future is bright for same store sales and unit growth for years to come. Did I mention the fries....

Some people like the low priced burger McDonald's produces and they just don't care where on the cow the meat comes from. As long as it's cheap, it taste great!! I don't get that mentality. A natural beef product cost more because of how the cow was allowed to live it's life and feed. Free of hormones and antibiotics, grass fed most of it's life, everything but the kobe beef massage. In a blind taste test, without knowing it cost more than a $1, you would choose the natural beef over a fast food burger 12 out of 10 times.I applaud Alan at Moorah, 5 Guys, and Smashburger for introducing us to a better burger. Knowing the cost, I think the food is priced correctly. If I had a complaint at that price point, it would be that I prefer a better atmosphere to enjoy my burger. For example, 5 Guys makes me sit in cheap seats with red and white tile everywhere. Then I have to read how wonderful they are on the East Coast because it's plastered all over the walls (Hey! This is the West Coast guys). I guess it gets 'em in and gets 'em out.My company doesn't have the deep pockets the big growth concepts have so you probably haven't heard of us yet, but I disagree with Alan when he says that 3 chains will make it and the rest will fall off. You don't need 500 stores to be a success. Some of us smaller chains offer quality and service that the fast growing chains can't match.At the Blazing Onion, we serve All Natural 100% Ground Chuck plus 8 other meats on 25 burger builds. We're getting ready to open our fourth location and our year over year sales are up over 10%. We even let you dine in a comfortable and warm atmosphere. Thanks Moorah, 5 Guys, and Smashburger for the great start out of the gate, but the rest of us are doing just fine.

Add new comment