South-eastern expansion for fast casual chain, Desert Moon Fresh Mexican Grille.

Desert Moon, the popular fresh Mexican restaurant based here has announced the signing of Area Developer Agreements for central and southern Florida. The Orlando and Ft. Lauderdale areas will soon be able to experience the food and atmosphere that loyal customers in the north-eastern U.S. refer to as “addicting”.

Founded in 1992 before the fresh-Mexican restaurant category was “cool”, Desert Moon instituted a “crawl, walk, run” approach to franchising. According to Gary Occhiogrosso, Franchise Strategist and Company President and Chief Operating Officer, Desert Moon was a family owned company until late 1999. At that time, an investor group bought the 4-store chain because they saw the potential and believed they could take the chain farther.

Since then, 15 restaurants have opened, and Desert Moon has positioned itself for future growth. “All of our systems have been refined to the point that we can now reach into other parts of the country, and the southeast continues to shine as potential growth markets”, says Occhiogrosso. “There is no dominant fresh-Mexican chain in Florida, and we are ready to fill that void.”

Desert Moon may be smaller than some of the other national brands, and in that smallness lays strength. “Those companies are under pressure to open many restaurants quickly, sometimes to the detriment of their franchisees”, says Occhiogrosso. “We are not under that kind of pressure. Our focus is to give our franchisees the tools they need to be successful”.

So what makes Desert Moon special? First and foremost are the quality and freshness of menu offerings and the way they are prepared. As a “Fresh Mexican Grille”, Desert Moon is not limited the way the others are. For example, take a look at their recently introduced and wildly popular south-western BBQ sandwich and loaded baked potatoes. “The cafeteria service system of some of our competitors is very limiting in what they can serve”, Occhiogrosso says.

“Because there is only so much you can prepare on a food assembly line, something must be removed in order to add something else. We don’t have that limitation. As a matter of fact, we will soon be introducing a line of Mexican Grill Pressed sandwiches and several unique South-western Pastas which will fit seamlessly into our service system”. All of which play well with our brand position as “A Fresh Healthful Alternative to Fast Food.”

The second difference is in the look of the dining area. Desert Moon has achieved a brilliant South-western look and feel in only 1700 square feet. “This achieves a “cozy” atmosphere while keeping the costs and rent factors lower. This lower investment makes for a lower break-even point, which makes for happier franchisees”, says Fred J. Kirvan, Director of Brand Development.
About Desert Moon Fresh Mexican Grille:

Desert Moon Holdings Corp. currently operates and franchises 19 Desert Moon Fresh Mexican Grille locations in eight states. Their restaurants define a new higher standard for fast-casual, fresh Mexican cuisine by serving only the highest quality, skilfully prepared food.

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