Five Guys: ‘Kitchens key to securing new sites’

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)

Expansive restaurant chain Five Guys, which has ambitions of opening up to 200 branches in the UK, says potential new sites must be able to accommodate its flagship open kitchen model for them to be viable.

The company has opened around 30 restaurants in the UK since its launch here over two years ago, reinventing the traditional QSR burger model by embracing open kitchens and placing them at the heart of its operation.

As a result, they dictate the viability of every potential site, explains head of construction Jonathan Cope. “We only have two types of kitchen layouts — if we can’t make them work in a potential new site, we don’t do the site. Kitchen is king — we don’t compromise on our kitchen layout,” he says.

Five Guys offers freshly-prepared food and customised burgers, even claiming to offer more than 250,000 possible combinations of toppings. As a result you’ll never find freezers, microwaves or can openers in its kitchens.

“We have a fixed template layout, which works very well for us,” explains Cope. “It is optimised to ensure our staff work as efficiently as possible. With regards to new equipment, we are more than happy with the current equipment; any changes are more innovation-led rather than spec changes.”

Recent equipment-focused projects have included testing a new prep sink that the chain hopes will save water usage and produce more consistent fries.

US-based Five Guys was established in 1986 and boasts more than 1,200 locations across the world.

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