Moe’s Southwest Grill Continues Fast-Paced Growth with Opening of 600th Restaurant

 Leading Southwest Fast-Casual Brand Celebrates Significant Opening in Salt Lake City, Inks Franchise Agreements Nationwide 

ATLANTA – May 19, 2015 – Moe’s Southwest Grill®, a leader in the fast-casual Mexican space, opened its 600th restaurant in Salt Lake City, Utah this month. The milestone reflects the momentum the brand has built by signing several high-profile multi-unit franchise agreements nationwide, just 15 years after opening its first location in Atlanta, Georgia.

“The opening of our 600th restaurant is an achievement that was reached largely thanks to our dedicated franchisees and loyal guests across the country,” said Paul Damico, Group President for FOCUS Brands. “As we continue to expand our footprint in coming years, our focus will remain on offering quality food and unique dining experiences.”

The Salt Lake City restaurant marks the first Moe’s in the state and is part of the company’s plans to further develop its presence in the western part of the U.S.. Moe’s hopes to open 70 new restaurants this year and continue an aggressive expansion, with new Moe’s also debuting in Chicago, Cleveland, and the state of Iowa. Expansion over the coming year will be driven by several multi-unit franchise deals inked, including:

  • A 20-unit deal for West Chicago, signed by Willie Torchia, franchise owner of 16 TGI Fridays® restaurants;
  • A 12-unit deal for the Baltimore DMA, signed by Hardy Gill, a franchise owner/partner in 30 Denny’s® restaurants;
  • A 12 unit deal for all of Maine and North Boston, signed by Danny Costa, Mike Costa and Mark Pesce, franchise owners of more than 40 Dunkin’ Donuts® restaurants;
  • A 12-unit deal for most of Iowa, signed by Scott Davis, Matt Middendorp, Mike Middendorp and Mike Flanagan, franchise owners of 9 Pizza Ranch®

Moe’s currently operates in 37 states including D.C., and in international markets such as Guatemala and Jamaica. The company is seeking experienced, multi-unit franchise owners to develop San Francisco, Denver, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Phoenix and Detroit.

In 2014, Moe’s opened 63 new restaurants – more than one restaurant per week – and signed over 150 new franchise deals. The company had 5.8 percent positive same-store sales and $570 million system-wide sales.

Ranked No. 1 Mexican food chain by consumers in Restaurant Business Magazine in 2015, Atlanta-based Moe’s Southwest Grill serves fresh, made-to-order burritos and southwest fare in a fun and laid-back environment.

“Welcome to Moe’s!” is more than a greeting; it’s a way of life for the folks who customize each meal made fresh, to order in front of every guest. All meals, including signature menu items like the Homewrecker burrito, Close Talker salad and John Coctostan quesadilla, are served with free chips and salsa. New Moe’s locations also encourage guests to customize their beverage by offering a selection of more than 100 brands to choose from with the Coca-Cola Freestyle® soda fountain.

About Moe’s Southwest Grill®

Welcome to Moe’s!® Founded in 2000 in Atlanta, GA, Moe’s Southwest Grill is a fast-casual restaurant franchise featuring fresh, handmade, customizable southwestern food in a welcoming environment that rocks. Moe’s is committed to serving only the highest quality ingredients 100% of the time at our locations in the U.S and abroad. While Moe’s is best known for its burritos packed with a choice of more than 20 fresh, flavorful ingredients, the menu also features kid’s, vegetarian and low-calorie options, all served with free chips and salsa. Check out Moe’s online at www.moes.com.

About FOCUS Brands Inc.

Atlanta-based FOCUS Brands Inc. is the franchisor and operator of over 4,000 ice cream shoppes, bakeries, restaurants and cafes in the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and 60 foreign countries under the brand names Carvel®, Cinnabon®, Schlotzsky’s®, Moe’s Southwest Grill®, Auntie Anne’s® and McAlister’s Deli®, as well as Seattle’s Best Coffee® on certain military bases and in certain international markets.  Please visit www.focusbrands.com to learn more.

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Moe’s Southwest Grill Inks 120 New Franchise Deals in First Half of 2014

Leading Southwest Fast-Casual Franchise Continues to Expand, Partner with Multi-Unit Owners

ATLANTA  July 14, 2014 – Moe’s Southwest Grill®, a leader in the fast-casual Mexican restaurant space, has signed 120 new franchise deals in the first six months of 2014, a record-breaking high for the brand.

Moe’s continues its aggressive expansion this year with new restaurants being developed in significant markets, such as Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Houston, Pittsburgh and Salt Lake City. This growth is fueled by both existing franchise partners as well as new partnerships with experienced multi-unit franchise partners with notable portfolios. Earlier this year, the company signed an 18-unit agreement in Northern California, and a 10-unit deal in Las Vegas. The first restaurants in these states are slated to open by year’s end.

This past June was the largest month for franchise sales in the history of the Moe’s brand. Additionally, the company has exhibited positive same-store sales for 19 the last consecutive quarters.  “This is an exciting time to be a part of Moe’s; the high-level franchise partners we are attracting not only see Moe’s as a quality brand to add to their portfolios, but genuinely want to grow with the company,” said Paul Damico, President of Moe’s Southwest Grill. “The success we’ve experienced in the first half of 2014 gives us great momentum to build on for the rest of the year as we continue to expand and position ourselves as a national brand.”

Moe’s stands out for both its fresh, flavorful ingredients and irreverent brand culture. Moe’s “Food Mission” outlines the company’s commitment to serving the highest quality ingredients to every guest, every day, at every location.

 About Moe’s Southwest Grill®

Welcome to Moe’s! Founded in 2000 in Atlanta, Ga., Moe’s Southwest Grill is a fast-casual restaurant franchise featuring fresh, handmade, customizable southwestern food in a welcoming environment that rocks. Moe’s is committed to serving only the highest quality ingredients 100% of the time at our more than 550 locations in the U.S. While Moe’s is best known for its burritos packed with a choice of more than 20 fresh, flavorful ingredients, the menu also features kid’s, vegetarian and low-calorie options, all served with free chips and salsa. Check out Moe’s online at www.moes.com.

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Largest Moe’s Southwest Grill Franchise Partner to Open Sixth Ave. Location

NEW YORK – Feb. 12, 2014 – The largest Moe’s Southwest Grill franchise partner will soon add Manhattan to his portfolio of locations when Moe’s Southwest Grill opens at 1029A Avenue of the Americas in Midtown Thursday, Feb. 13.

In addition to the new restaurant, franchise partner Clif Bullard plans to develop six more locations in greater New York City. Moe’s, which has six locations in the city, opened its first traditional restaurant in New York City early last year.

Bullard currently owns 23 other Moe’s franchises throughout North and South Carolina and in Columbus, Ohio, making him the largest single franchise partner in the system. He joined the Moe’s system in 2009 and has been a restaurant franchisee since 1980.

“We have a growing presence in New York but opening in Midtown, one of the top real estate locations in the world, is extra special for Moe’s,” said Moe’s Southwest Grill President Paul Damico. “We could not have asked for a more qualified franchise partner to develop this restaurant. Clif represents the exact type of high-caliber, experienced restaurateur we seek to partner with as Moe’s expands.”

Moe’s plans to open 100 stores this year, up from 54 last year. The company is currently seeking partnerships with experienced restaurateurs to develop multiple franchise locations in California, the Pacific Northwest, Houston, San Antonio, Denver, Milwaukee, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Salt Lake City, Phoenix, Boston and Detroit.

Ranked the No. 1 Mexican food concept by leading research group Technomic in 2013, Atlanta-based Moe’s Southwest Grill serves fresh, made-to-order burritos and southwest fare in a fun and laid-back environment. The new Moe’s in Midtown will be open every day from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. For more information, guests may call 212-575-7711 or visit www.moes.com.

About Moe’s Southwest Grill®

Welcome to Moe’s! Founded in 2000 in Atlanta, GA, Moe’s Southwest Grill is a fast-casual restaurant franchise featuring fresh, handmade, customizable southwestern food in a welcoming environment that rocks. Moe’s is committed to serving only the highest quality ingredients 100% of the time at our more than 500 locations in the U.S and abroad. While Moe’s is best known for its burritos packed with a choice of more than 20 fresh, flavorful ingredients, the menu also features kid’s, vegetarian and low-calorie options, all served with free chips and salsa. Check out Moe’s online at www.moes.com.

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Moe’s Southwest Grill Inks 17-Unit Franchise Deal in Dallas

ATLANTA – Feb. 11, 2014 Moe’s Southwest Grill®, the fast-growing restaurant franchise best known for its flavorful southwest fare, is aggressively developing the brand throughout Texas and has signed a deal to bring 17 new restaurant locations to Dallas and Fort Worth, the first of which will open March 6. This deal contributes to the plan for 34 Moe’s restaurants being built in the market.

Moe’s initially entered the Texas region with its first two locations – Dallas Love Field Airport and Baylor University. Because of the success of both locations and a concentration on developing the entire state, Moe’s is looking to expand with qualified franchise partners in other major Texas markets, including Houston, Austin and San Antonio.

The entrance into Texas is significant for Moe’s, as the company is focusing on growth in the Western part of the U.S.  The timing is ideal to enter the state and will supplement other restaurant developments currently under way in Louisiana, Arkansas, and Oklahoma.

Spearheading the expansion is franchise partner Ronnie Norcross, a multi-unit Wing Stop franchisee, who will open 17 Dallas locations by 2020, the first is set for Mar. 6 on 2121 Main Street. Norcross, 52, has been in the restaurant franchise business for 17 years and owns nine Wing Stop locations with a tenth under construction. In 2002, one of Norcross’ units was the first in the chain to reach $1M in sales. Since then, all of his Wing Stop locations have consistently exceeded $1M sale levels.

“I have been watching the growth of Moe’s as a potential franchising opportunity for years and am impressed with the overall brand and its driving force in the fast-casual Mexican arena,” said Norcross. “Texas offers a number of possibilities for Moe’s and Dallas is a great starting point for people to welcome the Moe’s brand.”

The deal is part of Moe’s strategic growth plan to increase its existing presence to a total of 800 locations nationwide by the end of 2015.

About Moe’s Southwest Grill®

Welcome to Moe’s! Founded in 2000 in Atlanta, Ga., Moe’s Southwest Grill is a fast-casual restaurant franchise featuring fresh, handmade, customizable southwestern food in a welcoming environment that rocks. Moe’s is committed to serving only the highest quality ingredients 100% of the time at our 500 locations in the U.S. While Moe’s is best known for its burritos packed with a choice of more than 20 fresh, flavorful ingredients, the menu also features kid’s, vegetarian and low-calorie options, all served with free chips and salsa. Check out Moe’s online at www.moes.com.

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Moe’s Southwest Grill Expands Brand to California with Multi-Unit Franchise Development Deal

ATLANTA – January 14, 2014 Moe’s Southwest Grill®, the fast-growing restaurant franchise best known for its flavorful southwest fare, has signed a deal to bring 18 new restaurants to Sacramento and Santa Cruz over the next seven years. This is Moe’s first push into California and is a crucial part of the Atlanta-based brand’s westward expansion plans.

HKM II, LLC of Roseville, Calif., headed by David Mitchell, Matt Karadanis and Rob Whittey, is the award-winning franchise group behind the California expansion. They also own 42 quick-serve burger restaurants throughout Northern California, Southern Nevada and Arizona.

The first Moe’s location is slated to open in the Sacramento area by spring of 2014. Possible sites are currently being negotiated. Overall, 14 locations are planned for the greater Sacramento region and four around Santa Cruz and the central coast. The new restaurants will help boost local economies by adding approximately 25 new jobs per location – an estimated 450 jobs total across the state upon completion.

“We have been looking to diversify and expand our restaurant portfolio, and right now fast-casual Mexican is a hot segment,” said Mitchell. “Moe’s is making all the right moves and it became readily apparent that this is a formidable brand to grow with at this time. We want to corner the Sacramento market and go from there, and we know Moe’s will do well in California.”

HKM II is owned by the Karadanis family, which has a diversified portfolio including apartments, mini-storage facilities and shopping centers. Whittey has been employed by the Karadanis family as Chief Financial Officer for more than 25 years, and Mitchell joined the group in 2000, eventually being appointed to Chief Operating Officer in 2005 in charge of directing company growth.

“I trust HKM will be a reliable, hard-working franchise partner and we’re excited that they’ll be introducing Moe’s to an area of the country that is completely new for our brand,” said Moe’s President Paul Damico. “Expanding West is a focal point for us in the upcoming year.”

All meals, including signature items like the Homewrecker burrito, Close Talker salad and John Coctostan quesadilla, are served with free chips and salsa. While Moe’s is best known for its burritos packed with a choice of more than 20 fresh ingredients, the menu also features kid’s, vegetarian, vegan and gluten-friendly options.

Moe’s was recently ranked the No. 1 Mexican food concept by leading research group Technomic in 2013. This deal is part of Moe’s strategic growth plan to increase its existing presence to a total of 800 locations nationwide by the end of 2015.

About Moe’s Southwest Grill®

Welcome to Moe’s! Founded in 2000 in Atlanta, Ga., Moe’s Southwest Grill is a fast-casual restaurant franchise featuring fresh, handmade, customizable southwestern food in a welcoming environment that rocks. Moe’s is committed to serving only the highest quality ingredients 100% of the time at our 500 locations in the U.S. While Moe’s is best known for its burritos packed with a choice of more than 20 fresh, flavorful ingredients, the menu also features kid’s, vegetarian and low-calorie options, all served with free chips and salsa. Check out Moe’s online at www.moes.com.

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Moe’s Southwest Grill Sees 12 Percent System-Wide Sales Increase in 2013

ATLANTA Jan. 10, 2014 – Moe’s Southwest Grill®, a leader in the fast-casual Mexican restaurant space, finished 2013 with $526 million in system-wide sales – a 12 percent increase from 2012. Moe’s also exhibited a 4.5 percent increase in same-store sales, showing consistent excellence among longer-standing locations. The company, recently ranked the No. 1 Mexican food concept by leading research group Technomic, will open nearly 100 new restaurants in 2014.

In 2013, Moe’s opened 54 new restaurants, including a milestone 500th location in Manhattan in June. The company also signed 155 new franchise deals. In 2014, the Moe’s brand will start an important expansion on the west coast, beginning with an 18-unit agreement in Northern California with HKM II, LLC of Roseville, Calif – a major player in the quick-serve burger space.

“We’ve had our eyes on California for a long time now, and we found a terrific franchise partner to help us carve a path,” said Paul Damico, President of Moe’s. “2013 was great for us in terms of sales and unit growth, and we anticipate even stronger results in the next year.”

Moe’s stands out for both its food and customer incentives. Moe’s “Food Mission,” which can be found on the walls at every location, outlines the company’s commitment to never using a microwave, zero trans-fat per serving and no MSG. More than 20 fresh ingredients are prepared daily, and the menu caters to those looking for low-calorie and gluten-friendly options. Moe’s also offers free chips and salsa with every meal and a Coca-Cola Freestyle® machine for more than 100 unique drink options.

The first location in California is slated to open in the Sacramento area by spring of 2014. In total, Moe’s plans to open 96 new stores in 2014 and sign 200 new franchise agreements. Moe’s will open new restaurants in other significant markets like Dallas, Las Vegas, Fort Worth, Tex., Springfield, Mo., and Omaha, Neb., and in the works are plans for further development in markets like Chicago, Philadelphia, and Orlando.

Many of the accomplishments in recent years, and expected growth going forward, come from attracting top-level, multi-unit franchisees with remarkable portfolios – like Burger King, Five Guys, Wendy’s, Wingstop and more, says Damico.

“Prospects are increasingly looking to Moe’s because of our outstanding growth potential in an industry segment that is by no means saturated,” said Damico. “We have a fun, irreverent brand that people want to be a part of.”

At the close of 2013, Moe’s Southwest Grill had more than 550 restaurants nationwide, and a strategic growth plan is in place to increase its existing presence to a total of 800 locations by the end of 2015.

About Moe’s Southwest Grill®

Welcome to Moe’s! Founded in 2000 in Atlanta, Ga., Moe’s Southwest Grill is a fast-casual restaurant franchise featuring fresh, handmade, customizable southwestern food in a welcoming environment that rocks. Moe’s is committed to serving only the highest quality ingredients 100% of the time at our 500 locations in the U.S. While Moe’s is best known for its burritos packed with a choice of more than 20 fresh, flavorful ingredients, the menu also features kid’s, vegetarian and low-calorie options, all served with free chips and salsa. Check out Moe’s online at www.moes.com.

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Moe’s Southwest Grill Opens Milestone 500th Restaurant

Fast Casual Mexican Franchise Leader Celebrates Opening with Nationwide Free Burrito Deal 

ATLANTA – June 4, 2013 – Moe’s Southwest Grill®, a leader in the fast-casual Mexican space, is celebrating its 500th restaurant, with the newest Moe’s opening in New York City. Moe’s has reached the milestone in just over 10 years, averaging about one opening per week in that span.

To celebrate the 500th and to thank customers for their loyalty, all Moe’s restaurants nationwide will offer a free burrito with the purchase of a large drink from Tuesday, June 4 through Friday, June 7. Orders must be placed online or through Moe’s mobile app. Go to moes.com for the promo code and details on how to redeem.

“This really is an exciting time in our brand’s history, expanding across the country, entering new markets and opening our 500th location, with plans for at least another 50 this year,” said Moe’s Southwest Grill President Paul Damico. “We share this milestone and our successes with our dedicated franchise partners and their hardworking crew members, and of course with our loyal guests, who regularly enjoy their one-of-a-kind meals at Moe’s.”

The 500th restaurant at 367 3rd Ave. is Moe’s second Manhattan location, following the Midtown East opening in January; a third is slated to open later this summer. New York-based Group 51 was the first to sign a multi-unit deal in Manhattan, including these three locations, and has plans to quickly expand the thriving brand. The owners, both longtime New Yorkers, parlayed their experience in other business ventures into an agreement with Moe’s.

All meals, including signature items like the Homewrecker burrito, Close Talker salad and John Coctostan quesadilla, are served with free chips and salsa. While Moe’s is best known for its burritos packed with a choice of over 20 fresh ingredients, the menu also features kid’s, vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options.