Marc Verderame, Mooyah Burgers, the newest franchise owner of Fries & Shakes, signed the biggest brand development contract to date.
A New York native, the restaurant industry veteran brings his expertise to the Best Burger franchise, opening 15 locations in Palm Beach County over the next 10 years, according to a press release from the company. The chain is on track to add 45 locations by the end of 2023 to its 90-unit franchise system.
“The construction industry was changing and we still had small restaurants in New York City, but we were looking to move to Florida,” said the son of the owner of several New York City pizzerias.
After working in construction, he embarked on franchising, eventually becoming a multi-unit franchisee for Golden Corral in Palm Beach County.
“We were already in the restaurant business, so we wanted to pursue it further,” Verderame said in the statement. “In 2012, we were the first franchisees to open a store for another major burger chain in South Florida. Wanting to expand our portfolio in the region, we were looking for another brand when we found MOOYAH, and it was perfect.
Mooyah grew 10% during the pandemic, while also finalizing a drive-thru concept, said Mike Sebazco, Mooyah’s vice president of operations and development.
“With the planned opening of two drive-through services this year, MOOYAH continues to offer more convenience to its loyal and enthusiastic customers,” he said in the statement.
With locations in 22 states, the brand has exclusive opportunities in some major markets for qualified franchise owners. Target markets include Columbus, Houston, Las Vegas, Tampa, Orlando, Phoenix, Raleigh / Durham, Nashville, Atlanta and Richmond.
“The first time I visited a MOOYAH everything looked and tasted so fresh,” Verderame said. “It was like a family and fun environment, and the burgers were really good. The whole team was great during all of our meetings. They have a great training system to get all colleagues and managers to buy into the brand and to do it the right way. “