When it comes to fast-casual Mexican chains, America has several widely spread options. Moe's Southwest Grill, while not the biggest, is certainly up there with its more than 700 locations in dozens of states. However, the family-friendly brand has been struggling during the pandemic and even lagging behind competitors who also serve a Mexican-inspired menu.
According to Restaurant Business, the chain's sales fell more than 23%, to $560.6 million, from 2019 to 2020. The chain closed almost 6% of its restaurants during the same time period. In comparison, Chipotle grew its footprint by about that amount during that time.
In order to reinvigorate their appeal with customers, Moe's just revealed plans to modernize several aspects of its business, from its restaurants to its menu, in order to attract their target demographic—busy families.
Here are some of the changes the chain has announced.
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A redefined customer journey
According to Restaurant Business, the chain is working on a new restaurant prototype that goes hand-in-hand with recent industry trends. The new Moe's locations will be about 1,000-square-feet smaller than their current restaurants, and will feature drive-thrus and a focus on digital orders. "We're trying to redefine the entire customer journey for how guests use Moe's," chief brand officer Alex Williams told the publication.
A new look for existing locations
Besides the new restaurant prototype, which will take some time to implement, the chain is remodeling dozens of its locations around the country. Some 30 locations so far have been spruced up with new colors and logos and additional assembly lines for digital orders only. In the Atlanta area, where the brand is from, the upgrade will soon include 50 more restaurants.
A menu revamp
And what's a brand refresh without new additions to the menu. According to Restaurant Business, you'll soon see new limited-time offers, new beverages like teas, lemonades, and frozen drinks, and a brand new dessert section at Moe's.
"I can't go into details on dessert," Williams said. "We're looking at our sister brand, Cinnabon. We've done some in-house work on things that I think are America's favorites: Apples and chocolate and Hershey and s'mores."
Making things as convenient as possible
Moe's is currently testing several more convenient ways for customers to pick up their orders. Curbside pickup has been implemented as a trial run in two locations with plans to roll it out at more restaurants. The chain also added four drive-thru locations this year and may upgrade more traditional stores with drive-thru lanes in the future.
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