Dan Barash Online

Moe’s makes a move into retail
June 3, 2011, 5:18 pm
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June 2, 2011 | By Alan Snel

Moe’s Southwest Grill has signed a deal to sell a line of branded products at BJ’s Wholesale Clubs, joining a growing list of restaurant chains that have taken their brands to supermarket shelves.

Moe’s, a 420-unit fast-casual chain, said its agreement with BJ’s is the first time it has gotten involved in licensing and selling its products in retail locations. The deal includes 17 products, including dips, appetizers, pre-sliced vegetables, soups, salsas and salad dressings.

Moe’s is entering the retail world in hopes of increasing its brand awareness, said Paul Damico, the Atlanta-based chain’s president.

“This is a really exciting extension of the Moe’s brand and we anticipate it will propel our brand awareness in the future,” Damico said in a statement. “We’re certain that the collaboration with BJ’s Wholesale Club and our licensing partners will lend our customers the same great tastes they’ve come to expect in our restaurants.”

Moe’s is not alone in extending its brand to grocery stores in hopes of snagging more customers. While brands like T.G.I. Friday’s and California Pizza Kitchen have long had a presence in supermarkets, a growing number of other chains have made the move into retail in recent years, including P.F. Chang’s, Jamba Juice and, more recently, IHOP.

Moe’s sister brand, Cinnabon, also has a line of branded retail products, including cereal and snack bars. Both chains are divisions of Atlanta-based Focus Brands, whose portfolio also includes Carvel, Schlotzsky’s and Auntie Anne’s.

Moe’s retail products are priced at $10 or less and are available at all 190 of BJ’s locations.

“For those who are already fans of Moe’s, the flavor profiles and packaging that are consistent with the brand that consumers love will be a reminder for guests to stop by Moe’s for the full restaurant experience,” Cara Becker, Moe’s vice president of brand marketing. “For the BJ’s Wholesale consumer who has never dined at Moe’s, we hope they will try our products, love them and be interested in dining with us.”

BJ’s, based in Westborough, Mass., operates 190 retail sites and 106 gas stations in 15 eastern states.

Patrick Roach, a spokesman for Moe’s, cited a Packaged Facts study that said 64 percent of consumers reported purchasing ready-to-eat or heat-and-eat food from a grocery store within the last month. The study predicted that sales of supermarket-prepared foods will grow to $14 billion by 2011.

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