MOOYAH flips with new owner and rapid growth plan | Crain's Dallas

MOOYAH flips with new owner and rapid growth plan

  • Michael Mabry is the COO and president of MOOYAH Burgers, Fries & Shakes. Photo courtesy of MOOYAH.

    Michael Mabry is the COO and president of MOOYAH Burgers, Fries & Shakes. Photo courtesy of MOOYAH.

  • MOOYAH Burgers, Fries & Shakes has big plans for growth in 2017 with new owners. Photo courtesy of MOOYAH.

    MOOYAH Burgers, Fries & Shakes has big plans for growth in 2017 with new owners. Photo courtesy of MOOYAH.

MOOYAH Burgers, Fries & Shakes has no plans to slow down after being acquired by private equity groups.

New locations are planned nationwide for the restaurant, including one in the Collin County suburb of Prosper that’s scheduled to open by the end of the year.

Plano-based MOOYAH was sold by its parent company, Reach Restaurant Group, to Balmoral Funds LLC and Gala Capital Partners LLC in April. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“The idea was to bring in some outside capital and really dedicate capital to the brand,” said Michael Mabry, COO and now president of MOOYAH. “Having oversight from a venture capital company is really the next step in the maturation process of our brand and our people.”

MOOYAH has become a 100-location powerhouse with franchises in 18 states, Mabry said.

Behind the deal

The sale comes a decade after co-founders Rich Hicks and Todd Istre opened their first MOOYAH in Plano.

The genesis of the deal came when Michael Morales, CFO of Reach Restaurant Group, met Anand Gala. Morales and Mabry struck up a friendship with Gala, who has decades of experience owning restaurant franchises.

The teams started negotiating in November and finished the deal in late April.

“Our priority was making sure the franchisees would be in a great position to be successful. Employees would be able to retain their jobs and grow along with the brand," Morales said. “It was a friendly deal. Our personalities jived really well. I don’t imagine deals go as well as this one did.”

Gala, now the chairman of MOOYAH and managing partner of Gala Capital, said burgers, fries and shakes have universal appeal around the world.

“It’s part of classic Americana,” Gala said. 

He said he’s also impressed with the management team, who give franchises everything they need to succeed.  He met with several franchise owners, who have invested their own money into their business.

“They were so dedicated and passionate about this brand it made me feel they had ketchup and mustard running through their veins,” Gala said. “We can actually assist them in smarter growth, which results in franchise restaurants that have higher sustained unit volumes and grow at a faster pace than they have historically.”

It’s the first deal Gala has done in the Dallas-Fort Worth area but it won’t be the last.

“We are very bullish on the Texas economy and all the other opportunities to grow within the state,” Gala said.

It’s also the first deal with Balmoral but Gala said he couldn’t disclose the breakdown of ownership between the two. “We’ve always wanted to do something together and expect to do other deals,” he said.

Balmoral and Gala Capital teams will join the board of directors for MOOYAH but the majority of the decisions will be made by the existing executive team.

 

New locations

 

For North Texas, MOOYAH is looking for potential locations in The Colony, Lake Highlands and the Park Cities area, Mabry said. This week, a new location opened in Glendore, California outside of Los Angeles.

The next round of openings are planned in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and the Boston area.

MOOYAH is on track to open 15 to 20 locations in the next 12 months.

Balmoral Funds and Gala Capital are based out of state but will keep its headquarters in Plano. The location will likely change, Mabry said, because’s current corporate headquarters is shared with the previous owner, Reach Restaurant.

 

May 12, 2017 - 1:00pm