Set up in 1986 by the Murrell brothers, Five Guys is an American burger restaurant, specialising in fresh, juicy burgers with an impressive array of toppings.
With more than 1,000 locations in the US, and with 1500 units in development, Five Guys has now moved across the pond to open its first restaurant in the UK.
Five Guys Covent Garden opened its doors on 4th July 2013 – American Independence Day – and is already proving very popular with customers. Located at 1-3 Long Acre, Five Guys Covent Garden serves up the same delicious burgers that the brand has become famous for in the States, alongside a selection of hot dogs, sandwiches and fries.
With more than 250,000 possible ways to order a burger at Five Guys (no, seriously), the brand is certainly making its mark in the capital. Oh, and those pressed for time can breathe a sigh of relief as Five Guys even has an online ordering service, allowing customers to skip the queue with just a click of the mouse.
Explaining the story behind Five Guys’ success, Five Guys Operations Director, Marcel Khan, said:
“Five Guys is a family business, set up in Virginia by the Murrell family. Jerry Murrell – the father of the ‘five guys’ that the brand is named after – presented his children with a very interesting proposition: ‘start a business, or go to college.’ Jerry’s sons made the choice to go into business and that was the beginning of the Five Guys brand.
“Serving handmade burgers and fresh cut fries, the Murrell family quickly found a following with their food and throughout the course of the ‘80s and ‘90s they continued to perfect their craft with five restaurants. In 2002, the brand hit a new high, with more restaurants appearing all over Virginia and Maryland thanks to a number of franchise opportunities.
“A year later and the Murrell family offered up more franchising opportunities, taking Five Guys across America. At present, with Five Guys now the fastest growing brand in the US we are moving into the UK market to give UK customers a flavour of what we are all about.
“Although Five Guys has developed and expanded considerably from its early days back in ‘86, the business still remains very much a family affair, so board meetings are family meetings and every opportunity is carefully considered by everyone in the family.”
“Five Guys is a real old school burger joint. There are no freezers; there are no microwaves, no timers, no can openers or anything like that at all. Everything is prepared fresh from scratch, with food prepared on the day. Imagine a burger restaurant in the 1950s and you pretty much have an idea of what Five Guys is all about. The emphasis at Five Guys is on using great quality ingredients, to produce great quality food.”
In the UK, Five Guys is a joint venture, with the Murrell family holding a 50% stake and billionaire and Carphone Warehouse boss, Charles Dunstone holding the remaining 50%. Charles became involved with the brand after falling in love with the burgers whilst on a visit to Manhattan.
Charles Dunstone, said:
“I’d read an article about Five Guys and decided to go into one at Rockefeller Plaza for lunch. The product was unbelievable and everyone was there – guys in hardhats, guys in pinstripe suits, lots of women. I went to see the owners and we shook hands on a deal to bring it to Britain.”
Fit-out specialists Fileturn was the main contractor on Five Guys Covent Garden, whilst Black Sheep was the designer on the project. Work ran smoothly on the project, with no major problems blighting the UK launch of the successful brand.
Operations Director Marcel, said:
“Five Guys is housed within a two-storey site formerly occupied by the Longacre Bar. The internal structure of the building suited the Five Guys brand very well, so the transformation process was not too challenging. From a design point of view Five Guys is a simple proposition; we invest all our money into the food and into our people, so we keep the design quite straight forward.
“Fileturn and Black Sheep were fantastic and both did a great job on helping us bring Five Guys to the UK. We have tinkered a little with the concept, but predominately what customers get in the UK is the same high level of quality that they would get in the US. We have a loyal following in America and we know that when our customers are visiting the UK they will expect to see the same brand that they get on their home turf. The same now goes for our UK customers visiting the US.”
Although the hotplates have only just started to get warm on Five Guys’ first UK restaurant, plans are currently underway to expand the offering further afield. A new site is currently taking shape in Reading, whilst a second London-based site is in the pipeline, with a further two restaurants pencilled in before the end of the year.
Commenting on Five Guys’ expansion plans, Marcel said:
“The idea is to position ourselves in different markets. Five Guys Covent Garden is a flagship site and this allows us to reach as many different customers as possible, so that we can establish the Five Guys name in the UK. Reading, meanwhile, presents a wonderful opportunity for us to develop the brand even further. We want to establish ourselves in key locations so we know what works and what doesn’t before we really start to push out the brand next year.”
For more information on Five Guys, please visit: www.fiveguys.co.uk.
In 1967, Chapman Ventilation started as a general ventilation company. Since then, it has become an industry-leading supplier of bespoke HVAC solutions specifically for the UK restaurant market, continuously designing and developing new systems and approaches to deal with innovative or intense cooking styles. For the past few months, Chapman Ventilation has been working closely with Five Guys to cater for its very specific needs.
Like Five Guys, Chapman Ventilation is a family-run business with a strong quality ethos. Tailoring systems to meet Five Guys’ exact cooking style required significant pilot testing, with live-cooking demonstrations held regularly at Chapman’s test kitchen facility. Set over two floors, the Longacre site is fitted with a bespoke CCA (Canopy Containment Air) technology hood: a high-performance and efficient piece of equipment designed to prevent the spread of smoke, odour and convective heat across the kitchen. Striking red ductwork, unique to Five Guys, makes the extract system an integral part of the restaurant’s design.
Ian Hunt, Project Manager for Five Guys, said:
“We take pride in providing our products and services to such highly-respected companies, and being able to work so closely with Five Guys has been an absolute pleasure.”
Priory Hardwoods LTD
Priory Hardwoods LTD specialise in the manufacture and supply of solid bespoke finished timber flooring for both the commercial and domestic sector. The company has been in operation for more than 11 years and within this time Priory Hardwoods LTD has provided services for a range of clients including Green King, Pizza Express and Top Shop, amongst others.
Most recently Priory Hardwoods Ltd provided bespoke multicoloured timber flooring to Nando’s in St Helen’s. Priory Hardwoods Ltd has also provided timber flooring to Five Guys.
Priory Hardwoods LTD Managing Director, Tom Bentley, said:
“Our involvement with Five Guys is very important to us. This is the very first UK site for Five Guys and we hope to see our products appear within future Five Guys restaurants as the brand expands throughout the UK. I am confident that our flooring will stand up to the wear-and-tear that the site will experience.”
“At Priory Hardwoods Ltd we are proud of our attention to detail, our ability to deliver on time and the way in which we meet our clients’ expectations. Many companies that we work with are looking for unique products and we have the capability to work with designers to create the exact vision that they have in mind.”