Mooyah Cooks Up a Tasty Marketing Strategy

Burger chains do not exactly exist in an uncompetitive market place. There are the ultra-convenient one-in-every-mall fast food joints like McDonald’s and Burger King. And there are the sentimental, often regional, favorites like In-N-Out and Culver’s.

For growing burger brands like Mooyah, the answer is customer engagement. The Plano, TX-based fast-casual chain currently has 49 restaurants nationally, and projects 60 over the course of the year spanning from coast to coast.

“We need CRM tools that let us speak to our guests often and test messaging,” says Mooyah Director of Marketing Alexis Barnett Gilette. The company has a specific focus: Most of its brand messaging caters to women and their families. Its recent strategies incorporate both email and mobile to drive engagement and traffic.

One of Mooyah’s key goals, says Barnett Gilette, is to drive mobile membership. The chain uses a solution from ePrize to help with this initiative, informing customers on its email list that they will receive further promotions if they sign up for the mobile list.

“Based on our history, when we send a text message, people are listening,” Barnett Gilette says. “They’re coming into our restaurant and taking action.” With just email subscribers, the uptake in business is more subdued. “We can see lines out the door at lunchtime when you send a text,” she explains. “With email, it’s more of a trickle.”


Of course, without an aggressive acquisition offer, people aren’t necessarily incented to sign up. Mooyah initially failed to get the results it wanted by offering discounts or free side items, like fries or drinks. It now offers a free burger—“a key killer of our overall marketing strategy,” Barnett Gilette says—and it was an offer the company talked up on social media and in its restaurants.

She’s also seen success driving email acquisition through text messaging. In early March Mooyah sent out 80,000 text messages to solicit email sign-ups. The conversion rate was 13%—especially satisfying compared to the 1 to 3 percent industry average.

Opt-in only

Marketing experts know that outreach drives engagement, but it also can present some legal hurdles—especially with the complexity of the laws regulating opt-in and opt-out components. “You have to be very careful,” Barnett Gilette says. One thing Mooyah definitely doesn’t want to give away? Money to defend against—or pay off—a lawsuit. 

“We want to make sure we’re only talking to people who want to hear from us,” Barnett Gilette says. EPrize’s backend helps manage the legal components of the messaging system. “Putting in the legal language, how to opt in or opt out, are all very important pieces of the program.” Outreach means being disciplined—which means auditing outgoing messages and making sure customers have the ability to opt out if they so choose.

Mooyah’s mobile program is still nascent. As more customers enroll, Barnett Gilette anticipates improving segmentation and targeting to drive action—something the company is in the process of developing. For instance, a promotion can ask customers their favorite shake flavor and Mooyah could conceivably take that response and send those customers relevant offers down the road.

“Opportunities around segmenting and targeting messages is where we’ll have the highest impact,” Barnett Gilette says. “Knowing what makes [our customers] tick, leveraging weather opportunities—Hey it’s raining, come by for this offer—and doing that on a turnkey basis. We can’t do that well today, but we’re working on that strategy and testing opportunities right now to hopefully roll out later this year.”

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