PROVO -- After building a successful chain of Subway Sandwich franchises in Northern Ireland, Shayne Nielson is coming home to Provo with a food franchise new to Utah. Mooyah Burgers, which has several franchises throughout the U.S., particularly in Texas will open in Provo sometime this fall.
Born in Provo, Nielson says this is his first franchise venture in the U.S. market. Michael Mabry is helping him open the franchise.
"Our decision to come back here was because we wanted to develop another concept, like the better burger market," Nielson said.
Nielson said they were looking for an organization similar to the Subway system and Mooyah Burgers fit.
"It was the ease of operation," Nielson said. He noted it is a family- and kid-friendly format and a specific menu.
Mabry added, "We do well with families. It's fun, safe and a place for people to go."
At Mooyah Burgers everything is freshly made and cooked to order. And, Neilson said, "Our milk shakes are made from ice cream."
The ambiance inside the restaurant includes the popular Moodle Doodle Board.
"It's a chalkboard where guests can leave their mark and a place where kids can play," Mabry said.
As for the products, Mabry said, "We serve the perfect American burger, hand cut fries, sweet potato fries and buns baked on site."
The menu also offers turkey and veggie burgers and lettuce wrapped burgers. Like at Subway, you pick the toppings.
"It's a simple menu," Mabry said. "We are competitors with Five Guys Burgers,"
Nielson added, "We fill in the blanks where Five Guys leaves off."
Mooyah Burgers offers takeout, fundraising opportunities and a cookout trailer for special events catering.
Nielson said he believes the Utah market is a great choice for the franchise and anticipates opening three this year with potentially more to follow. The Mooyah Burger line has been developed to market to a broad demographic. "It appeals to kids, grandmas and grandpas and college kids," Nielson said.
As far as being successful, Nielson said, "It doesn't matter if it's Chinese food or sandwiches. As long as someone does it right, with a good price range, you can be successful. Our biggest challenge in Ireland was replacing trends."
In Ireland people eat at home for breakfast and dinner. Subway was just a lunch item, Nielson said. "We really like the Utah market because of the culture and environment."
Nielson also said the company has a Christian-based leadership and they don't have alcohol in their restaurants.
Nielson will be signing the final paperwork on their Provo location, which is anticipated to be close to Provo High School and BYU.