Moe’s Southwest Grill franchisee fires up 25 West Michigan locations


Business partners Joyce Lunsford and Greg Molter plan to open up 25 Moe's Southwest Grills in West Michigan. Photo courtesy Moe's Southwest Grill

After recently opening a Grand Rapids location, a Moe’s Southwest Grill franchisee plans to open 25 restaurants across West Michigan.

Business partners Joyce Lunsford and Greg Molter opened a Moe’s restaurant at 2739 E. Beltline Ave SE last month. 

Their Grand Rapids location will be followed up by 25 more restaurants across West Michigan in the coming months and years, Molter said.

There is another Moe’s on 28th Street SE not under the ownership of Molter and Lunsford.

Currently, Molter and Lunsford have two Michigan Moe’s locations open, the first being in St. Joseph and their location in Grand Rapids, he said, adding that patience is important in searching for new places to open.

“We are scheduled to open three per year based on our underlying agreement,” Molter said. “This could be slightly more or less each year depending on the speed at which we can identify and negotiate ideal locations. We are typically looking for 2,100 to 2,600 square feet. . . . We generally would hire about 20 to 30 associates per location.”

More Grand Rapids locations

Grand Rapids is a strategic starting point, Molter said, adding that at least five to seven of those 25 new locations would be in the Grand Rapids area.

Moe’s is currently in negotiations for another site in Grand Rapids, and has identified about three more solid opportunities, he said.

“West Michigan has proven to be a resilient area in Michigan," Molter said. "The business base is diverse and the customer taste is broad. It has proven to be a great market for us over the last 20 years. As residents of the area, we feel that we have a good sense for what the customer base will appreciate in a restaurant concept and try to go after those concepts that fit our portfolio of brands.”

Pair of franchisees

Lunsford, owner of St. Joseph-based Trigo Hospitality, and Molter sold 22 of their Panera Bakery Cafés in 2011, Molter said, and were looking for other avenues of growth, when they came across Moe’s.

Lunsford and Molter plan to drive Moe’s Michigan expansion, as well as continue to build on their Sonic and Pizza Hut brands with new locations, new stores and remodels, he said.

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