Moe’s Celebrations Help Drive Profits
Moe’s Southwest Grill stays away from promotions, instead opting for what it calls celebrations to attract customers and get them excited about the brand’s fresh approach to Mexican. Cinco de Mayo is rebranded as Cinco de Moe’s. And of course there’s Quesopalooza in September.
It’s another way Moe’s celebrates originality, said President Bruce Schroder during his presentation at the Franchise Times Finance & Growth Conference in Las Vegas March 15. The “Moe” in Moe’s Southwest Grill isn’t one person, he continued, but rather an acronym for “musicians, outlaws and entertainers,” and the brand needs to ensure it maintains that mindset throughout the system. Team members are called roadies, its loyalty program is Rockin’ Rewards and “we rock as hard as we roll,” said Schroder of Moe’s emerging artist talent revues that raise money for local school arts programs.
The franchise, acquired by Focus Brands in 2007, is “in the sweet spot for growth” given its fast-casual format and Mexican/Tex-Mex menu, said Schroder. Average unit volume is $1.2 million across the 600-plus-unit system. Customers appreciate Moe’s commitment to high quality ingredients such as grass-fed steak and hormone free chicken, Schroder continued, and like the flexibility of knowing they can indulge if they want or “behave after crossfit” and order the soft tacos.
“We don’t preach to guests or presume to tell them what they want to eat,” said Schroder.
Catering, meanwhile, “has been a huge growth vehicle for us,” he pointed out, and is approaching 10 percent of overall sales. Online ordering and delivery are also helping to drive sales, and Moe’s is migrating to more drive-thru locations that use touchpad ordering and a system that remembers and recalls previous orders.