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Mooyah rolls out its first new prototype

The redesign includes closing off the previously open kitchen and adding a dedicated off-premise pickup area.
Photograph courtesy of Mooyah

Mooyah Burgers, Fries & Shakes is debuting its first major redesign in the concept’s history, moving from an open kitchen design to one that is walled off, among other changes.

The first unit under the new prototype opened Monday in Hoover, Ala., with another slated to open in Orlando in the next 30 days, said Tony Darden, Mooyah’s president and chief operating officer.

“In the 10-plus year history, there hasn’t been a full prototype,” Darden said. “There have been some cosmetic changes to the brand but nothing like this. … Everything going forward will be this new prototype.”

Currently, most of the Dallas-based fast-casual burger chain’s 87 units feature an open kitchen, with customers walking down the line, watching their burgers being built. The new, closed kitchen design cuts down on noise and allows for greater storage at the restaurant, he said.

The new design also adds a kitchen display system, removing the need to call out orders and increasing accuracy, he said.

As for the open-kitchen design, Darden said, “The feedback we received was this wasn’t something that added value to the experience.”

Previously, the chain couldn’t aggregate accurate speed-of-service metrics. That will likely change with the new design.

Also included in the revamped prototype are digital menu boards; an updated logo and colors; and a redesigned line that stacks the cooking stations for greater efficiency.

The new design makes several allowances for the importance of off-premise traffic, including a pickup area for online and third-party delivery orders with a dedicated entrance/exit and grab-and-go beverages near the cash registers.

“It’s our solve for offering beverages for third-party delivery,” Darden said. “It’s easier than self-serve. Across the industry, the attachment of beverages to check has been declining. We have a lot of different options.”

The chain has worked to get buy-in on the redesign from franchisees and is offering a few packages, with varying degrees of complexity.

“You want your owners to feel like they’re partners,” Darden said. “You don’t want them to feel like you’re doing this to them. It’s been a collaborative journey.”

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