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According to the company’s Franchise Disclosure Document, the total investment necessary to begin operation of a Moe’s Southwest Grill franchise ranges from $450,615 to $768,843, including a $30,000 initial franchise fee.
However, Damico said, a person looking to open just one store won’t make the cut. Owners who want multiple units are preferred.
“Today, we’re really not selling any new deals that are smaller than a five-store deal and you have to bring experience in the restaurant industry and experience in the franchise industry.”
The strict requirements are one way to protect the brand, he said, ensuring consistency and standardization from one store to another and that the company continues to grow exponentially.
In August 2007, Moe’s Southwest Grill joined FOCUS Brands Inc., a global franchisor of more than 3,300 Carvel Ice Cream, Cinnabon, Schlotzsky’s, Moe’s Southwest Grill, and Auntie Anne’s locations. The move has allowed Moe’s to experiment with pairing up the brands, such as having a Carvel counter inside Moe’s stores to both maximize real estate and give the franchisee an additional competitive advantage over similar brands.
At the moment, Moe’s Southwest Grill outlets are concentrated primarily east of the Mississippi River, but the brand will continue to spread west and is poised to expand internationally in countries like Russia and India.
“We want to be the premier brand in Southwestern Mexican fast-casual dining,” Damico said. “We are constantly looking at new products, new ingredients; and I am involved in all of that. As a leader of the brand, there is not an aspect that I am not intimately involved in.”
Moe’s Multi-Unit Owner Brad Chasteen is Company’s Largest Franchisee with Additional Stores on the Way
Brad Chasteen isn’t a rocket scientist, but he didn’t need to be to see that Moe’s had all the right ingredients to become a leading franchise when he started researching the company more than 10 years ago. At the time, he was in the software industry helping to build start-up technology companies. Today, he owns the largest number of Moe’s Southwest Grill restaurants by one franchisee in a territory that blankets Northeast and Central Florida, as well as the Washington, D.C. area.
With an accounting degree from the University of Florida, the 50-year-old executive has always had a “personal passion” for the restaurant industry and even went so far as to compose a business plan for a fast-casual burrito restaurant with a friend in the 1990s. He created a potential menu, sketched out a concept for store interiors, and even had a name: The Wicked Fajita.
“I’m a big fan of the fresh Mexican or Southwestern Mexican food; it fits my palate really well,” he said. But his plan to start his own company stalled when he discovered Moe’s Southwest Grill.
“I saw the Moe’s brand and said, ‘You know this is exactly what we wanted to do, but it’s well-branded and well-thought out. We don’t need to create this. It already exists.’ ”
Franchisee Sold on Moe’s ‘Vibe’