Dermot Desmond’s sons to bring Five Guys to Ireland
Popular US fast-food chain is opening new franchises in Dublin and elsewhere
US President Barack Obama poses as he picks up his lunch at a Five Guys restaurant in Washington, DC. Photograph: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)
The quickest growing fast casual dining restaurant business in the US is seeking 10 locations in Ireland north and south in which to start trading.
Five Guys Burgers and Fries plans to initially open up to five restaurants in Dublin – two in the city centre and three more around the M50 belt – before expanding into Cork, Limerick and Galway.
Northern Ireland is also in its sights, with one or two restaurants planned initially for Belfast.
The requirement is for a minimum ground floor trading space of 23sq m (2,500sq ft) with 139sq m (1,500sq ft) back-of-house.
“But if anything has been learned from the Five Guys UK experience, it is that larger stores, with up to 5,000sq ft of trading space, can work very well in the right locations,” says Michael Harrington of Harrington Retail, which has been retained to secure the sites.
The Irish franchise for Five Guys Burgers and Fries has been secured by Brett, Ross and Derry Desmond, the sons of financier Dermot Desmond.
The menu at Five Guys is centred on hamburgers offered with American cheese or bacon, kosher-style hot dogs, grilled cheese and vegetable sandwiches.
Its buns are said to be sweeter and “eggier” than normal and French fries are the sole side item, available salted only in “Five Guys style” or seasoned “Cajun style”. Some outlets also offer egg sandwiches on Five Guys buns for breakfast.
Five Guys food is prepared fresh on a daily basis. There are no freezers in any of its restaurants, and all foods are cooked using peanut oil.
The chain has received the Zagat seal of approval worldwide every year since 1999. In addition, its “secret shoppers” visit every store twice weekly to make sure that its standards are met.
A Five Guys restaurant usually has a simple layout: red-and-white checkered decorations, a single counter for purchasing and picking up food, and a few tables and chairs.
Five Guys began in 1986 when Jerry and Janie Murrell told their four sons: “Start a business or go to college.” The business route won and the Murrell family opened a carry- out burger joint in Arlington, Virginia.
The Murrells continued to perfect their simple system throughout the 1980s and 1990s, and the business became known for its fresh, juicy burgers with all the toppings you could stuff between fresh- baked buns.
By 2001, the chain expanded to five locations scattered through the Washington, DC metro area. But it was only in early 2003, when Five Guys began franchising, that the doors to rapid expansion opened. In a year and a half, permits had been sold for more than 300 franchised locations.
Five Guys has since grown to more than 1,200 outlets in the US and Canada, with a further 1,500 under development. The company boasts that it has grown 792 per cent since 2006 alone and, as of 2012, is the fastest-growing fast-food chain in the US, with a 32.8 per cent sales increase from 2010 to 2011.
In 2013 it opened its first international restaurant in Convent Garden, London having formed a joint venture with billionaire businessman Charles Dunstone, founder of The Carphone Warehouse.