Rising profits, more stores and greener operations – why Five Guys UK is no longer in crisis mode

Five Guys Baker Street

Five Guys has fixed its sights on ending 2021 with up to 25 more sites than it had last year after revealing it emerged from the pandemic with its UK operations in profit.

The premium burger chain saw revenues slip from 5% to £164m for the year ending 31 December 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, even though it opened 10 extra stores during the year.

However, it managed to increase operating profit from £19.2m to £21.2m. Net profit reached £1.7m compared with a loss of £717,000 the year before.

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Five Guys was forced to close the vast majority of its estate when the UK was put into lockdown in March 2020 and didn’t fully reopen until August 2020, although it continued to trade via takeaway and delivery.

It also introduced curbside collection in the UK to mitigate restrictions placed on the hospitality sector at different stages throughout last year.

The company received £10.6m under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to support employment. It also gained £7m as part of the Eat Out to Help Out scheme, which saw the government pay for 50% of restaurant meals during August 2020.

Directors of the firm said in the company’s annual accounts that they believe there are “strong growth prospects” in the premium burger market and intend to continue the roll-out of Five Guys in the UK.

Five Guys also spelt out ways in which it is working to reduce the environmental impact of its operations. It has already achieved 100% zero to landfill but continues to work on improved recycling segregation across its estate. Currently, it recycles 25% of waste collected, with the rest being converted to energy.

It ensured that all of its used cooking oil is collected and recycled to be used as biofuel. In 2020, it contributed to a CO2 saving of 878 tonnes by recycling its used cooking oil.

It has also made a number of changes to remove single-use plastic by replacing items such as straws, plastic bags, portion pots, cutlery and shake cups and continue to monitor the latest developments on packaging.

Five Guys is a family-owned chain of restaurants founded in Virginia by the Murrell family in 1986. In 2012, the Murrells formed a JV with Sir Charles Dunstone to launch Five Guys in the UK.

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Andrew Seymour

The author Andrew Seymour

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