Mooyah burger restaurant to enter already crowded 'better burger' market

Just when you think we've maxed out on burger joints, another concept wants space on our grill.

Dallas-based Mooyah is expanding into Florida and hopes to open a Tampa Bay area restaurant in the next year. The chain has 40 locations nationwide, most in Texas, and big plans for more. It wants 200 restaurants by the end of 2014 and 50 in Florida over the next five years.

Mooyah joins the seemingly bottomless appetite for "better burger" places — Five Guys, Square One Burgers, Burger 21, Stacked Burgers and Burger Monger, to name a few. Tampa Bay's diverse demographics and steady flow of tourists make it a juicy market for growth, said David Tennyson, the development agent for Mooyah in Florida.

"It's very hard to go anywhere and find someone who hasn't tried a burger or who doesn't like a burger," he said. "There is a lot of competition, but we believe we can come here and be successful."

Much like Five Guys, Mooyah sticks to a basic menu of burgers, fries and shakes (plus veggie, turkey and lettuce-wrapped Iceburgers for the health conscious). What makes it different are the buns, freshly baked on site.

Tennyson wishes he had a clever story about the name but doesn't, other than it's a fun word that's contagious.

Mooyah has a family-friendly, hometown feel with local cheerleaders working the cash registers and baseball teams stopping in after games, he said.

The chain is scouting sites in Florida and expects to close deals in the next 60 days. Like a lot of fast-casual concepts, Mooyah prefers end spots in shopping centers with outdoor seating and easy access.

Want to move into the business? The franchise fee is $30,000 plus all the startup costs. On top of that, franchisees must have a net worth of at least $500,000.

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Wake up, java lovers! Saturday is National Coffee Day. And it comes with perks.

McDonald's restaurants throughout the Tampa Bay area are offering free small coffees all week long, with no purchase necessary. Krispy Kreme has free cups on Saturday, and 7-Eleven has "Coffree Day" from 6 to 10 a.m. Friday. As part of Krispy Kreme's 75th birthday, the doughnut chain is also offering 75 customers free coffee for a year. Enter online at krispykreme.com now through Saturday.

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I consider it a test of wills to get out of Ikea without buying something from the marketplace — a picture frame, a toilet brush or a flower pot.

So it came as quite a shock to see white sheets blocking off much of the first-level retail space. Signs say the marketplace is undergoing a makeover. Many products have been moved or are temporarily unavailable.

The renovations began a few weeks ago and will end in mid November. Ikea officials say it's part of a nationwide push to upgrade the marketplace in about half of its stores. The finished space will have better displays, new graphics and more items at eye level.

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Further reason for me to never drink milk shakes: According to the new listings on McDonald's menus, a chocolate shake has 710 calories. Wow, ignorance is bliss.

Susan Thurston can be reached at sthurston@tampabay.com or (813) 225-3110.

Mooyah burger restaurant to enter already crowded 'better burger' market 09/24/12 [Last modified: Monday, September 24, 2012 7:56pm]

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