Dan Barash Online

Moe’s Southwest Grill launching first national TV ads
March 8, 2013, 8:19 pm
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Moe’s Southwest Grill launching first national TV ads

The Atlanta-based fast-casual chain said the two commercials are targeted at 42 million American viewers and also are the first spots to use Coca-Cola Freestyle dispenser in a brand campaign.


Moe’s Southwest Grill Facebook Recipe Contest Raises the Seasonal Salsa Bar to New Heights
June 1, 2012, 6:21 pm
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ATLANTA, GA, May 29, 2012 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) — Moe’s Southwest Grill, the fun and engaging fast-casual restaurant, is challenging its Facebook fans to raise the bar this summer — the salsa bar — with its first “Raise the Salsa Bar Contest.” Fans can heat things up by entering their original salsa recipe for a chance for it to be featured in more than 450 Moe’s restaurants nationwide and take home a $1,000 cash prize.

Why let the queso have all the fun? From now through June 29, 2012, fans can visit Moe’s Facebook page to submit their original salsa recipe in this fun and flavorful online contest. Whether you prefer mild and sweet salsas that pull in citrus undertones, or if you like to set off the fire alarms with habanero and jalapeno peppers, the bar is sky-high to what you can create.

Moe’s executive chef and judging panel will then select ten semifinalists to enter into the next round of the recipe contest competition — the popular vote. Semifinalists are selected based on ingredient selection, originality, and ease of preparation.

“We are really proud of our fresh, seasonal and free salsa bar and wanted to let our fantastic Moe’s community have a hand in creating the next delicious addition,” said Dan Barash, Executive Chef, Moe’s Southwest Grill. “Our Moe’s fans really define who we are and we can’t wait to experience this fun competition with them.”

The final three contestants selected by popular vote will then be prepared, taste tested and judged by Moe’s executives to determine who raised the salsa bar to new heights, crowning the victor of the first “Raise the Salsa Bar Contest.” The winning recipe will be featured as a limited time offer in 450 Moe’s restaurants nationwide, and receive a cash prize of $1,000.

The Moe’s Southwest Grill salsa bar rotates salsas seasonally, capturing the unique flavors of each period, providing mouth-watering salsas made with fresh, natural ingredients. In 2011, Moe’s launched a new Food Mission to bring the highest quality ingredients to every guest, every day, everywhere. This means focusing on the best possible options for guests including vegetarian and low-calorie ingredients, to a variety of ingredients without rBGH, steroids, added preservatives, or MSG, and of cou

rse, always prepared fresh with no microwaves.

For more information, please visit social.moes.com/salsabar. This contest is open to legal residents of the U.S., aged 18 and older. Limit one entry per person, so make it a good one!


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.

Read more: http://nrn.com/article/moe’s-makes-move-retail?ad=fb-news&utm_source=MagnetMail&utm_medium=email&utm_term=dbarash@focusbrands.com&utm_content=NRN-News-NRNam-06-03-11&utm_campaign=Traffic%20up,%20checks%20down%20at%20restaurants#ixzz1OEae2fcy

Free Queso for All at Moe’s—On July 21
July 12, 2010, 2:48 pm
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2010-07-08]   Moe’s Southwest Grill is celebrating its 10th anniversary by giving each guest a free six-ounce cup of its Queso at all locations all day on July 21—no strings attached, no purchase necessary.

“This once-in-every-10-years offer will be the first and only nationwide giveaway since the company’s inception,” says Paul Damico, president of Moe’s Southwest Grill. “We are excited to share this company milestone with our guests by giving away one of our best-loved and most celebrated products.”

Additionally, Moe’s is encouraging fans to express themselves and their love for Moe’s hot, flavorful, melted white cheese sauce by entering the I Love Queso Video Contest at http://www.ilovequeso.com for a chance to win $1,000 and free Queso for a year.

Free queso isn’t the only reason to celebrate Moe’s 10th anniversary. Most recently, Moe’s opened its first green location in Burlington, Vermont; added Junior Burritos and Rice Bowls permanently to the menu; opened three cobranded locations with Carvel Ice Cream; launched a new website; and introduced a cleaner, brighter restaurant prototype. With plans to open 500 locations in the next five years, Moe’s is better poised for growth than ever before.

Sodium Still Big on Consumers’ Minds
February 11, 2010, 3:36 pm
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 Here is an article I came across this morning – I believe this is the next “trans fat” for our industry.  We’ve been working on this non-stop at Moe’s for about a year now trying to stay ahead of the pack.  More to come…

By Sam Oches

A new study released by health and nutrition market research firm HealthFocus International suggests that consumers are concerned about their sodium intake—and that quick serves may suffer from their concern.

According to the study, which surveyed approximately 800 people in November, 65 percent of consumers have at least some degree of concern for their sodium intake. Forty-four percent said they regularly pay attention to their sodium consumption.

The study also suggested that consumers are not very educated on the matter of sodium: 79 percent of respondents said they do not know what the recommended daily intake of sodium is. Only 7 percent knew the correct amount of 1,500–2,400 milligrams per day.

“It’s not like they know how much they should take in and then they monitor against it,” said Barbara Katz, president of HealthFocus International, during a Webinar presenting the study results.

Nearly half of the respondents—48 percent—said that they at least know they consume too much sodium.

Quick-service restaurants, according to the HealthFocus survey, could be the victims of increased sodium concern. Of the venues where consumers are most concerned about their sodium intake, fast-food restaurants clocked in at No. 1, with 51 percent of respondents being extremely or very concerned.

“Fast-food restaurants … really took a lot more of a hit than sit-down restaurants,” Katz said during the Webinar.

Also, of the 44 percent of respondents who said they always or usually control their sodium intake, 33 percent of them said they avoid eating at fast-food restaurants.

When asked what products they avoid for fear of consuming too much sodium, respondents overwhelmingly chose fast-food and processed food products. No. 1 on the list of products consumers are extremely or very likely to avoid was “French fries from a fast-food restaurant,” which was selected by 37 percent of respondents.

Thirty-six percent of those surveyed said they were extremely or very likely to avoid “Hamburgers at fast-food restaurants,” putting it at No. 2. The seventh-most avoided product was “Chicken from a fast-food restaurant,” with 31 percent.

Twenty-five percent of survey respondents reported being “heavy users” of fast-food restaurants. Of that 25 percent, 64 percent are men; 58 percent know they probably consume too much sodium; 65 percent are concerned with their sodium intake; 44 percent are paying attention to their sodium intake; and 31 percent are not reducing their sodium consumption because they do not want to sacrifice taste.

Moe’s Adds Whole-Grain Tortillas to Menu
January 12, 2010, 7:41 pm
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Moe’s Adds Whole-Grain Tortillas to Menu

Joining Moe’s 25 fresh ingredients, the whole grain tortilla makes eating smart easy at Moe’s.

— Chain Leader, 1/12/2010 10:27:00 AM

PRESS RELEASE: ATLANTA, GA. (JANUARY 12, 2009) – With a fully customizable menu and 25 fresh ingredients to choose from, Moe’s prides itself on the ability to meet a variety of dietary needs and flavor preferences. The new Whole Grain tortilla offers a fresh, nutritious alternative to Moe’s flour tortillas for Moe’s guests seeking a healthier alternative.
Available for quesadillas, burritos, junior burritos and salad bowls, the whole grain tortilla offers vital nutrients including antioxidants, B vitamins, fiber, healthy fats and proteins.

“We tested a variety of tortillas, but decided on whole grain because of the great taste and nutritional benefits,” explains Dan Barash, director of R&D for Moe’s Southwest Grill. “Whole grains provide the rich balance of nutrients that are found in the original grain seed.”
The whole grain tortilla joins a variety of unique ingredients such as tofu, grilled vegetables, chopped cucumber, fresh jalapenos, house-made guacamole and pico de gallo, to name a few, that make dining easy for vegetarians and vegans alike as well.
“At Moe’s we follow the necessary guidelines for vegetarians, such as cooking our veggies on a separate grill and serving cheese and sour cream that is free of gelatin and animal rennet,” says Barash. “The population living the vegetarian and vegan lifestyle is growing, as is the population of people looking for healthy options at chain restaurants. I’m proud to say that Moe’s has been happily serving these groups since day one. The whole grain tortilla takes our healthy offerings to the next level.”
About Moe’s Southwest Grill
Moe’s Southwest Grill is a fast-casual concept featuring fresh southwest fare in a fun and engaging atmosphere with over 400 locations nationwide. At Moe’s, each meal is prepared right before your eyes and is accompanied by free chips and salsa, including the Homewrecker burrito, the Billy Barou nachos, and the Close Talker salad. Founded in 2000, Atlanta-based Moe’s Southwest Grill was named a Top Ten Growth Chain by Restaurant Hospitality in 2007 and is a Gold Award winner of the 2008 Consumer’s Choice in Chains Awards. Moe’s is owned by FOCUS Brands Inc.(r), the franchisor and operator of over 2,200 Carvel(r), Cinnabon(r), Schlotzsky’s(r), Moe’s Southwest Grill(r)  locations and Seattle’s Best Coffee(r) on certain military bases and in international markets. For more information, visit www.moes.com.

Moe’s Greets the New Year with New Site
January 11, 2010, 5:23 pm
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 Although Moe’s Southwest Grill has many new marketing efforts in store for 2010&including an upcoming promotion that has been teased about on its Facebook and Twitter pages—the first is a simple, but necessary, update of the brand’s Web site.

According to Joel Bulger, vice president of marketing for Moe’s, the Web site makeover was due not only for aesthetics, but also for brand transparency.

“We needed to update the Web site, but part of it is we needed to a better job of helping people understand the brand and making the brand more relevant,” Bulger says.

“Also, helping people to understand a lot of great things that we do, a lot of great parts of the brand that they just don’t know about.”

Some of the updates of the new Moe’s Web site include a more user-friendly location finder, an online game, a page that links to the brand’s YouTube channel, and a “Moe Cares” section that focuses on sustainability and community involvement efforts from Moe’s.

Another new feature is an interactive widget that highlights Moe’s menu ingredients and nutritional information.

“We posted our nutritional information long before it was mandated or long before we were asked to do that,” Bulger says. “It’s important for our guests, whether there’s allergens or nutritional information or caloric information or whatever the customer is looking for—just give it to them.”

Bulger says that while social media tools such as Facebook and Twitter have become trendier brand hubs than individual Web sites, the Moe’s Southwest Grill site is an important component that works hand-in-hand with those media.

“Facebook and Twitter are great sources of two-way communication and how to communicate with a guest in ways they want to be talked to right now,” he says. “But if somebody wants to find the restaurant near them or somebody wants to find nutritional information or somebody wants to find out the history of Moe’s or about some of our ingredients, Facebook and Twitter are not the kind of place for those things.

“When [customers] come into Facebook and Twitter, they want quick, relevant, timely information, but the Web site is a way to … find out more about the brand.”

Though Bulger emphasizes that the message of the new Web site was essential to promoting the brand’s burritos, quesadillas, tacos, and other menu options, the manner in which the message was shared needed to reflect the identity of the restaurant.

“It is a lot more engaging and a lot more interactive than it ever was,” he says. “We’re very lucky, because Moe’s is a very cool and interactive brand, and I think people like to engage with the brand.

“We just need to make sure that … we’re telling folks stuff that they want to hear.”

By Sam Oches