Q&A: MOOYAH Burgers, Fries & Shakes Director of Marketing, Alexis Barnett

Q&A: MOOYAH Burgers, Fries & Shakes Director of Marketing, Alexis Barnett

MOOYAH Burgers, Fries, & Shakes is an emerging leader of the “better-burger” fast casual segment. The family friendly menu features made-to-order hamburgers using 100-percent fresh American beef; freshly baked buns, hand-cut French fries made from high quality Idaho potatoes, and handcrafted 100-percent ice cream shakes. Ranked #1 in Fast Casual’s “2009 Top 100 Movers and Shakers,” MOOYAH, the popular Frisco, Texas based company, offers online and text message ordering, and a cookout trailer for corporate, social and fundraising events. MOOYAH began franchising in 2007.

Alexis Barnett, Director of Marketing for MOOYAH, answered some questions about marketing strategies put into place in 2012 and the success of those initiatives.

What has MOOYAH done with its marketing efforts over the past year to spur growth and strengthen the brand for existing locations?

As a brand, we have enjoyed some great, organic growth of our existing fan base. When people experience MOOYAH, they immediately fall in love. We wanted to find a way to drive more new traffic so even more people can fall in love with MOOYAH – as a result, we launched our first-ever national promotion, “HowDoYa MOOYAH.” The campaign was based off of scratch cards our guests received upon visiting our locations, with prizes that ranged from MOOYAH gift cards, food, drinks and more.

We have also continued to build a strong baseline for business through our text messaging and Facebook campaigns. The one that sticks out the most would be our free burger offer. We took a look at the industry and saw that typically, most restaurants and fast food establishments gave away a small item, like a drink here or a cookie there. We decided to go all in and gave away our burger as the prize – we didn’t want to discount it. Our thinking was that it’s so good, we want to give it to you so you can experience how good it is and eventually come back and purchase it for yourself at a later date.

The response from our fans has been incredible – for our text messaging efforts alone, we have built our base from 50,000 subscribers in July and August to 80,000 currently, which means in just a couple of months we have been able to significantly grow our database. We can now engage even more fans as a result of our marketing efforts. We love it and our fans love it.

Has marketing supported any new products this past year?

We are in a constant state of improvement at MOOYAH. We perform a number of quality tests year round to make sure we are consistently meeting our guests’ needs. As a result, we have been testing our new gluten-free buns in select locations, added new shake flavors and launched our better-than-ever turkey burger. We are constantly refining the processes and recipes from how we bake our buns to the formula used to season our meat.

Some people might find it exhausting, but we never stop improving. We don’t look at something and say “ok, it’s good enough for now.” We are always improving every single piece of MOOYAH, from the food to the restaurants themselves, to ensure our guests have the best experience each time they visit.

In the end, if a guest has the best experience ever, every time, this shortens the purchasing cycle, resulting in repeat visits in a shorter amount of time.

What new technology has MOOYAH added to create a better Guest experience?

In the same way that we are constantly improving our food products, we are constantly testing and improving our in-store experience. We’ve developed a kiosk-based ordering system that after some testing we hope to roll out across the system.

We’ve also introduced a mobile app that allows our guests to order from their iPhone or Android device, pay via credit card and confirm a date and time to pick up their meal. This allows our guests to skip the line and get their meal as soon as they walk in the door.

The kiosk is key to our Burger-to-Mouth strategy, or BTM. We want our guests to experience an almost instant gratification so they can get their much-loved MOOYAH burger as quickly as possible. We want the ordering experience to be as amazing as the guest experience, and we believe we can make that happen through technology.

What is MOOYAH’s marketing philosophy for connecting with Guests?

We are always trying to find the balance between getting new guests and driving our current fans back more often. By doing that, we can then have a clear focus on who to target with very specific marketing.

We are about to launch an email campaign, but like I mentioned above, our text messaging and Facebook marketing tactics are our strongest and the ones our guests love the most. Since we focus on our text messaging and Facebook campaigns year round, we are able to sprinkle in other types of campaigns, like email and direct mail campaigns and larger initiatives like our “HowDoYa MOOYAH” campaign.

What does the brand have planned for the future?

Q&A: MOOYAH Burgers, Fries & Shakes Director of Marketing, Alexis BarnettWe opened more than 20 locations in 2012 and we plan to grow aggressively in 2013 and beyond. As we continue to grow, we want to ensure we are constantly and consistently building our baseline of guests through our marketing efforts in addition to the organic growth that comes from opening new locations.

The end goal is to shorten the amount of time between customer visits, and we’ll continue to work on shortening that amount of time through our text messaging and Facebook campaigns, as well as introducing larger campaigns in the future.

For MOOYAH franchise information, please visit http://mooyah.com/franchise-info/.

More information is available at www.mooyah.com. Follow MOOYAH on Twitter @MooyahBurger and connect with MOOYAH on Facebook at the MOOYAH Burgers & Fries Fan page.