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After Years with the Company, This Lifelong Restaurant Enthusiast Transitioned into an Ownership Role with MOOYAH

MOOYAH Burgers, Fries & Shakes, the nearly-100-unit ridiculicious, fast-casual “best burger” concept, has developed a strong following of Guests, Team Members and Franchise Owners who are increasingly passionate about the restaurant and its mission. Josh Lovett, now-owner of the Knoxville MOOYAH location, is a prime example of the success and satisfaction this enthusiasm, alongside a commitment to growth, can create.

“I got involved with MOOYAH about 10 years ago when it opened in Knoxville,” Lovett said. “I was hired by one of the former partners who owned the Knoxville location to be a field operator, meaning I’d come in to check on paperwork, operations and cleanliness.”

However, his first role with MOOYAH was in no way his first introduction to the industry. Lovett worked in restaurants his whole life, and he and his wife, Kara, previously owned a mom-and-pop restaurant. 

After selling that restaurant, Lovett knew he was interested in ownership again at some point. He grew in his role with the previous owner of the Knoxville location, focused his attention on MOOYAH and eventually became the face of the store. 

Both Lovett and the previous owners were in agreement that he would soon take over, and that transition began in mid-2020.

“I learned more and more about franchising after joining the MOOYAH team a few years back, and I grew to really love the concept behind it. When you have a ma-and-pop restaurant, you have no support,” he explained. “It’s good to have a corporate team to provide support from a marketing, food supply and pricing standpoint so you know you’re not alone. The support structure is extremely valuable. Instead of having to create the structure myself, there’s already a proven business model in place with MOOYAH.”

Lovett became the sole owner of the location in December 2020, and he says he’s proud to continue growing the MOOYAH name in his very own community. With operations thriving, Lovett has grown to be the top-performing owner in the entire franchise system and was recognized as Single Unit Franchisee of the Year in 2022.

“Being recognized as ‘Franchisee of the Year’ has been a tremendous honor. I’m over the moon about this award,” he said. “I truly believe in the MOOYAH system and have spent the last few years putting my all into this brand and dedicating myself to serving our Guests in Knoxville. I’m proud to be part of a franchise that rewards its team for hard work and impact.”

“Josh has been a vital part of this franchise system. His commitment to MOOYAH is shown every single day, and the brand is excited to recognize him with this award,” explained Doug Willmarth, President. “As our company continues to scale and grow, it’s very important to us that we highlight the members of this organization who have made that possible.”

The investment to develop a MOOYAH ranges from $477,918 to $989,793. Learn more at


MOOYAH Burgers, Fries & Shakes is where “serious” and “fun” are one with the bun. The ridiculicious, fast-casual “best burger” concept is committed to providing the best tasting burger experience possible by specializing in the taste trifecta – mouthwatering made-to-order burgers, hand-cut French fries and real ice cream shakes. Founded in 2007, MOOYAH is obsessed with quality, serving fresh, never-frozen 100% Certified Angus Beef® brand burgers, all-natural turkey burgers and plant-based vegan burgers. MOOYAH’s signature buns are baked in-house daily, and guests can choose from five real cheeses, bacon, avocado and 17 free sauces and toppings made from garden-fresh veggies. MOOYAH also hand-spins 100% real ice cream shakes and offers eight flavors including vanilla, Hershey’s chocolate, Reese’s, Oreo and more. MOOYAH serves guests through dine-in, online ordering, delivery and carryout, as well as its loyalty app.