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How to Start a Moe's Southwest Grill Franchise in 2023 Have a passion for fast casual restaurant franchises? Read on to learn more about this tasty business opportunity.

By Entrepreneur Staff

Focus Brands

Moe's Southwest Grill Franchise Information

Headquartered in Atlanta, Moe's Southwest Grill is a fast-casual Tex-Mex restaurant franchise that serves high quality and fresh southwestern food. Moe's has an extensive variety of menu items to please the entire family – from burritos to specialty items like quesadillas, burritos, nachos and stacks, and a salsa bar serving their famous queso.

Now one of the most recognized fast-casual Mexican restaurant franchises available, the brand has more than 700 franchised locations in 40 different states. Moe's Southwest Grill offers franchisees with a robust catering option to help drive revenue and build further brand loyalty among its customers.

Explore Ownership with Moe's Southwest Grill

The food franchise also recently underwent a companywide modernization, updating the look and feel of their fast casual restaurants, including a new logo, updated interiors, and engaging in-store graphics. It was a big-time renovation, but the brand retains the same bold personality and great tasting southwestern fare. To encourage a welcoming environment, they greet every customer of this fast casual chain with a hearty, "Welcome to Moe's!" cheer upon arrival.

Here are a few of the details that make Moe's Southwest Grill an inviting franchise opportunity:

  • Strong Brand Awareness. Launched in 2000, we've grown to more than 700 restaurants in 40 states
  • Simple, Customizable Menu. Just 20 ingredients can be turned into any amazing creation your fans crave
  • Support Provided by Industry Leaders. Franchise support provided by Moe's and Focus Brands®, a leading developer of iconic, global foodservice brands
  • Multiple Real Estate Configurations. Freestanding buildings, in-line locations, drive-thrus, food courts and more
  • Enjoy Off-Premises Revenue. Moe's offers catering, online ordering, and third-party delivery opportunities
  • Strategic Supply Chain. Leveraged spend management across Focus Brands portfolio

Led by President Joe Guith, Chief Development Officer Brian Krause, and Chief Brand Officer Tory Bartlett, the brand's executive team provides ample leadership and direction for Moe's Southwest Grill franchisees. (Paul Damico is the company's former president.) In Entrepreneur Magazine's 2022 Franchise 500 list, Moe's Southwest Grill ranked 268th, marking their 11th consecutive year to be included in the prestigious rankings.

How much does a Moe's Southwest Grill franchise cost?

To start a Moe's Southwest Grill franchise of your own, here are the financial requirements and ongoing franchise fees for a franchise owner (you'll want to be aware of the franchise fee and these other fees before signing the franchise agreement):

Initial franchise fee: $30,500

Initial investment: $566,300 - $1,585,610

Cash requirement: $300,000

Net worth: $1,000,000

Veteran incentives: $10,500 off franchise fee

Royalty fee: 5%

Ad Royalty fee: 2%

Moe's says it has established relationships with qualified lenders with financing options to help you with your fees and financing needs.

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When was Moe's Southwest Grill founded?

Moe's Southwest Grill was founded in 2000 and began franchising the concept one year later. The Moe of Moe's Southwest Grill stands for Musicians, Outlaws, and Entertainers, an unsuspecting acronym that has nothing to do with the savory Southwestern food the brand serves. To trace the acronym's origins, here's what it all means:

  • Musicians: Moe's celebrates musical legends who "left this world too early," using deceased musicians as inspiration for restaurant artwork and the background music in each location.
  • Outlaws: Moe's considers itself to be a bit of an outlaw among Tex-Mex chains, eschewing corporate pretentiousness and mass-produced, frozen foods in favor of creativity. They point to their highly customizable menu, which invites customers to design their own burrito, bowls, quesadillas, nachos, and more, with a choice of more than 20 proteins (meat lovers rejoice!), veggies, and other ingredients for each menu item.
  • Entertainers: Just like iconic musicians, Moe's holds a deep appreciation for pop culture. Odes to their favorite movies and performers are evident in the names of dishes like "The First Rule of Chicken Club" and "Three Amigos Tacos."

The small brand that began its meteoric rise from its humble beginnings in Georgia can now be found in more than 700 locations in the United States. In 2004, Moe's celebrated the opening of its 100th location.

In 2007, the current parent company, Focus Brands, acquired the company. They surpassed their 500th location in 2013 and their 600th just two years later. Three hundred and twenty-five of the current Moe's locations have opened in just the past five years alone. In 2020, in a partnership with GenRock Capital Management, Moe's transferred 67 franchised locations to Quality Fresca, a new division of Quality Restaurant Group.

Moe's Southwest Grill franchise stats.

How does Moe's Southwest Grill stack up by the numbers? Let's take a look.

As mentioned, the brand touts more than 700 locations and can be found in 40 different U.S. states and even abroad. Moe's was founded in the year 2000 and has been franchising their fast casual concept since 2001, now with over two decades of expansion under their (expanding) belt. Each of the Moe's Southwest Grill eateries requires a footprint of 2,100 to 2,800 square feet, with 30 to 40 feet of frontage. Each location requires a minimum of 15 employees. Each day, the combined Moe's system fries up over 60,000 lbs. of chips, freshly prepares over 40,000 lbs. of salsa, dices 25,000 lbs. of tomatoes and 10,000 lbs. of peppers and onions. Not bad considering the small number of simple, fresh ingredients needed to turn out combinations of their savory Southwestern fare dishes – only 20! The average net sales for each location are $1,073,062.

Moe's Southwest Grill: Marketing and training franchise support.

If you're looking for a fast causal restaurant franchise that takes support seriously, you'll feel right at home with Moe's Southwest Grill. Franchisees in this restaurant business can expect to undergo 40 hours of classroom training and receive 170 hours of on-the-job training. The franchisor divides their assistance into four distinct categories. Here's precisely what the brand promises to franchisees in the way of marketing, support, and ongoing training:


  • Provides access to a comprehensive, high-resolution product image library
  • Assists in core menu development and pricing strategies
  • Assembles Local Store Marketing toolkits
  • Facilitates R&D projects for local product introductions
  • Provides sales trends analysis and guidance


  • Manages new market launches with a cross-functional team for new opening support
  • Assists franchisees with real estate needs such as site criteria and selection
  • Develops concept packages with construction plans and conducts construction document review
  • Provide guidance on image standards and expectations

Operations and Training

  • Offers a Support Center that provides an unparalleled level of operational review, coaching and analytical support to our franchisees to improve operational performance
  • Provides opening training support with certified trainers and certifies international training locations
  • Serves as primary liaison for R&D on product development and testing, quality control and inspections
  • Conducts advanced training and professional development classes

Supply Chain

  • Assists with distribution network relationships and negotiates distribution agreements
  • Secure regionally sourced product, where necessary, and ensure adequate distribution
  • Establishes supply chain for new regional markets

Are there any Moe's Southwest Grill franchise opportunities near me?

There are more than 700 locations across the U.S. and a few locations overseas. There are only seven states that don't yet have a location: Washington, Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, Arizona, Alaska, and Maine. Aside from these states, the company is actively seeking new franchisees in Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and Tennessee. For a full coverage map indicating where you can find Moe's Southwest Grill, simply follow this link.

How much does a Moes Southwest Grill franchise make?

The average net sales for each Moe's location are $1,073,062. For a deeper dive into the potential for revenue generation, please refer to Item 19 of the brand's franchise disclosure document (FDD).

How can you find out more details on Moe's Southwest Grill franchise opportunities?

A great place to start is Entrepreneur's Franchise 500 listing for Moe's Southwest Grill. The brand's official franchising site can be found at moesfranchising.com, and you can also visit the concept's brand page on Focus Brands, Moe's parent company.

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Entrepreneur Staff

Entrepreneur Staff


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