6 years after leaving Dayton, Moe’s SW Grill wants to come back

Moe's Southwest Grill wants another shot at capturing the palates of Dayton-area diners.

The burrito chain had a handful of Miami Valley locations in the late ’00s, but shut down its restaurant on Brown Street near the University of Dayton campus in January 2009, and shuttered its last remaining location near the Mall at Fairfield Commons in Beavercreek in July 2010.

The then-franchise owner of the Beavercreek restaurant “said business was tough, and he has decided to close the restaurant and focus on other endeavors,” a Moe’s spokeswoman Lauren Barash told me in July 2010. “We do not currently have plans to open another location in the Dayton area.”

Well, fast-forward six-plus years, and Moe’s is singing a different tune. Compoany officials say the chain is now looking for qualified applicants to open franchise Moe’s restaurants in the Miami Valley.

“While the brand already operates 17 locations in the state, they are now actively seeking qualified franchisees to develop in the areas in and around Dayton,” Peter Ortiz, Moe’s vice president of franchise sales, said in a release.

“With multiple locations in neighboring states, Ohio represents an important part of Moe’s growth strategy, and we’re excited about the brand’s expansion into the region. The Moe’s brand has become a top choice for some of the most successful multi-unit franchise owners in the country, so we’re excited to watch the brand grow here due in large part to the talent of our franchisees,” Ortiz said.

There is precedent for a restaurant chain to ebb and flow in and out of the region. Dunkin’ Donuts operated multiple locations throughout the region in decades past, then closed all but one before mounting a comeback in the last two years. Its fifth Dayton-area location is gearing up to open in Riverside. Popeye’s Chicken is planning a similar comeback.

Moe’s had a successful year of franchise growth in 2015, opening 68 new restaurants – some in significant markets, including San Antonio, Austin, Dallas and Southern California – and signing nearly 186 new franchise deals, company officials said. The fast-casual restaurant franchise currently operates more than 650 franchised locations across 39 states.

The brand got a nice shout-out just four months ago: a Harris Poll that measures how people feel about restaurant brands showed that Moe’s Southwest Grill unseated Chipotle as the most popular brand selling Mexican-inspired food, according to an annual survey. Moe’s also topped Taco Bell, Qdoba and Baja Fresh in the survey.

So, what are the qualifications to become a Moe’s Southwest Grill franchisee, you ask? So did we, and here’s the answer we received:

• Restaurant management experience as an owner and/or operator

• A minimum net worth of $1.5 million and liquid assets of at least $500,000

• The ability to open a minimum of three restaurant locations

• Enthusiasm for the brand and business ownership

• An unstoppable urge to yell “Welcome to Moe’s” loud and often

The initial franchise fee to open one Moe’s franchise is $30,000.

For more information, go to www.moesfranchise.com/restaurant-franchise-steps-to-ownership.php.

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