Five Guys fast-tracks international franchise strategy

Washington, UNITED STATES: TO GO WITH AFP STORY-US-FOOD-RETAIL-COMPANY: Five Guys revive American love affair with the hamburger-BY JUSTIN COLE

Burgers are assembled,at the Chantilly, Virginia  Five Guys restaurant 25 June 2007. Five Guys restaurant sells about 1500-to-2000 of the all fresh, completely handmade burgers made anyway your want each day. America's hundred-billion-dollar fast-food market is already crowded and battling to retain health-conscious customers, but one company has people lining up to feast on its hamburgers and fries.  AFP PHOTO/Paul J. Richards (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

Five Guys is set to give its international franchise strategy a massive push by committing to almost quadrupling its global footprint from eight countries to 28 over the next five years.

The burger chain, which has had huge success in the UK since it began trading in the UK two years ago, said its immediate focus is on continued expansion throughout Europe and the Middle East and entering the markets of Australia, Japan and South Korea.

News of its international growth drive comes just weeks after the 1,400-unit group opened its first site in Paris, which has made a strong impact in the market since its launch.

While Five Guys continues healthy domestic growth with close to 100 units opening annually, its success and demand in international markets to date has provided the confidence to fast-track international expansion.

“We always knew international was going to be a strong opportunity,” said COO Sam Chamberlain, “but the results have outpaced even our most optimistic projections.”

Five Guys opened its first restaurant outside of North America in 2013 in London. In three years, it has grown to more than 50 locations in the UK, and in the past year has entered five new markets: Ireland, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and France.

Average unit volumes in international markets are running as much as five to seven times that of domestic locations.
“The demand from international consumers has been overwhelming and we are applying resources to meet this demand,” said Chamberlain.

Senior executives from Five Guys are planning to travel to Asia in October to meet with prospective partners, he added.

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