Smiling Moose Deli has just signed two multi-store deals that will bring eight new locations to West Texas and Montana, covering a significant geographic area.

With a total of 16 locations open, and 12 more under development, Smiling Moose Deli is enjoying the results of its efforts to keep growth strong by growing steady.

Smiling Moose Deli President, Larry Hill, says the brand encourages storeowners to open one location, in order to experience the restaurant industry, before buying multiples, just to be sure.

"Buying a Smiling Moose Deli franchise is a life-changing decision,” Hill says. “We want to make sure it's a good fit for both parties."  

New owners work side-by-side with fun and experienced support staff throughout the process, meeting new customers and learning how to optimize their daily operations.

"There is no greater complement to our brand than when an existing store owner signs on for more," says Hill. "We are not a cookie-cutter franchise. We work within an individual's parameters, adapting the best case scenario for each new owner."

Midland Texas, franchise owner, Colter Lange, says he knew he was on to something before he even signed on the dotted line.

"I think going into it, we thought it would be successful,” he says. “We liked what they were doing in Colorado, and we knew it was quite different than anything being offered in the Midland area."

Lange opened his first location in June 2011 having never spent a day of his life in the restaurant industry. He admits he had a big learning curve, but he and his family were eager to make it happen. 

Their hard work paid off when they smashed Smiling Moose Deli's highest opening day sales record. "We had high hopes, and our first opening exceeded all of our goals," Lange says, "and then we signed up for five more locations."  

His newest location opens May 1 in San Angelo, Texas, with additional locations planned for Abilene, Odessa, Amarillo, and Lubbock.

When asked what makes Smiling Moose Deli so successful in Midland, Lange says, "Everyone loves our sandwiches, but we get the most compliments on having the best salad in town!"

He says that while customers enjoy the signature salads like the Ty Cobb or Italiano, the custom salads have scored the biggest hit with his new and expanding customer base. He intends to make his new locations even larger for more salad-making room.

The big sky state of Montana will also be seeing more of Mo the moose with a new three-store deal signed by Sharon Stachlowski, owner of the Bozeman location. Despite never imagining herself in the restaurant business, she now plans to open stores in Billings, Helena, and Missoula.

"I was really just trying to fill half of a building I own, so it would pay for itself,” Stachlowski says. “But the response to our first location has been so phenomenal, I just couldn't think about not doing more around the state!"

In addition to finding success with her Smiling Moose Deli, Stachlowski has simultaneously found a passion for the restaurant industry. "I like the way you can work very hard, go home at the end of the day, be done for the day … I love the people and each day I get to start all over again."

Denise Lee Yohn: QSR's Marketing Guru, Growth, News, Pizza, Smiling Moose Deli