Saturday, October 9, 2010


As far as I know, the only 5G locations serving breakfast are the two at the DC airports, Reagan and Dulles.

I'm eating one now. They serve egg sandwhiches, but you can add a patty for $1.

It sure is tasty.

Friday, September 3, 2010

I am a bad blogger.

It's been so long.

But here is some news: Five Guys now has 667 locations in the US and Canada. I have been to 77 of them. Their growth rate, and my visit rate, mean that I should visit everyone, as is my goal, on the 3rd of June, Two Thousand and never.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A little trivia:

In the 5G in Idaho, they don't just list the city and state, they list the farm the potatoes come from.

(I suppose, once more stores open in Idaho, someday the white board might just say "Today's potatoes are from: Here.")

Monday, July 12, 2010

Burger news from the AP

Appetite for "better burgers" shows no satiety

By MATTHEW BARAKAT (AP) – 20 hours ago

FALLS CHURCH, Va. — With a drive-through seemingly on every corner, you might think the market for burgers long ago reached saturation. But the fastest-growing restaurant chain in America last year was Five Guys, which specializes in double-pattied behemoths the size of a softball.
And that's just the tip of the arugula. So-called "better burger" joints are one of the fastest-growing parts the restaurant industry. Celebrity chef Bobby Flay launched Bobby's Burger Palace in the Northeast. Elevation Burger is expanding into Kuwait. Mooyah Burgers & Fries, Meatheads and the Shake Shack are looking to expand.
Higher-grade beef, fresher or more creative toppings, and better buns are bringing customers in the door.
The Washington, D.C., area has emerged as fertile ground for ground chuck. Five Guys, the earliest success story, is based in Lorton, Va., Elevation Burger in Arlington, BGR-The Burger Joint in Lansdowne.
Ray's Hell Burger, also in Arlington, is not a chain, but the restaurant run by iconoclastic chef Michael Landrum earned a national profile with President Barack Obama taking Vice President Joe Biden and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev there last month. (Medvedev's review: "Not quite healthy, but it's very tasty.")
It's a market that has room to grow. Such chains represent only about 2 percent of the $65 billion burger market, said Darren Tristano, executive vice president of Chicago-based restaurant consultant Technomic.
"The traditional players — McDonald's, Burger King and Wendy's — have really shifted their focus away from burgers to breakfast, chicken and beverages," said Tristano. He predicts better burger chains will continue to have double-digit sales growth for at least the next few years.
The founder of Denver-based Smashburger, fast-food industry veteran Tom Ryan, was keenly aware that Americans were hungry for higher-quality fast-food burgers.
The company did extensive research with fast-food customers who reported that the burgers they ate were mostly a matter of convenience. "'It's not the burger I crave; it's the burger I use,'" Ryan said. Smashburger has expanded to 70 stores in 15 states in just three years.
Customers are willing to pay to ease that craving. A Five Guys burger runs anywhere from $4 to $6, and some charge more.
Five Guys, like others, sells the fact that its burgers are never frozen — the stores don't even have freezers, only coolers. Elevation Burger uses organic, grass-fed beef and sells fries cooked in olive oil. BGR uses a mix of dry-aged beef.
Despite recent success of better burgers, one of the oldest names in the business has fallen on hard times. Fuddrucker's filed for bankruptcy protection in April. Tristano said he thinks Fuddrucker's problems resulted from large restaurants with high real estate costs.
By contrast, most of the successful better-burger operators locate in low-cost strip malls. It can cost less than $500,000 to open most better-burger franchises, a third of a McDonald's or Burger King.
Mark Bucher, the founder and vice chairman of BGR The Burger Joint, said he sees room to expand slowly. He plans to keep BGR in the Mid-Atlantic region for now. Bucher says he's been through this before, as a major player in the bagel boom of the '90s, which eventually lost steam.
"The gourmet burger industry will be survival of the fittest," Bucher said. "Those companies that are getting into the business now are five years too late."
Five Guys' sizzling expansion had a long prep time.
"It isn't anything we wanted to do. We just kind of got pulled that way" after would-be franchisees continually pitched the concept, founder Jerry Murrell said. He opened his first store in 1986, and through 2001, the company expanded to just five locations — one for each of Murrell's five sons.
Murrell didn't think Five Guys' cooking lent itself to easy replication. The potatoes were flown in fresh but often had slightly different starch contents that required tweaks in cooking times. Burger patties are always hand-formed.
After expanding regionally for a few years, the company began a national expansion two years ago. In 2009, Sales jumped 50 percent to $453 million, making it the fastest-growing restaurant with sales over $200 million, according to Technomic.
Murrell relishes the competition.
"If I were choose between opening in a town with 100 burger places and one with none, I'd go to the place with 100 burger places. People eat burgers in that town," Murrell said. "I like being next to McDonald's."
A glance at a few of the burger chains in the D.C. area and across the nation that have expanded in recent years, and their plans for future expansion:
Elevation Burger: First location opened in 2005 in Falls Church strip mall. Opened eighth location in Potomac, Md., last month. Expects to have 15 to 20 locations open by the end of the year, with up to 100 in the next few years. Also opening five stores in Kuwait.
Five Guys: Opened first store in Arlington in 1986. Operated five northern Virginia locations through 2001. Expanded with franchise agreements through Mid-Atlantic region beginning in 2002. Expanded on a national scale beginning in 2008 and now has more than 600 locations.
Smashburger: Opened first store in 2007 in Colorado and expanded quickly, with 70 current locations. Expects to have 100 by the end of 2010, and add 100 to 150 stores annually for the next two or three years.
BGR — The Burger Joint: Opened first store in Bethesda, Md., in 2008. Now has four locations in the metro D.C. area. Founder Mark Bucher has plans to expand slowly in the greater D.C. region.
Mooyah: Opened first location in Plano, Tex., in 2007. Now has more than a dozen locations in Texas. Company is expecting to double number of stores in 2010 and has plans to expand outside the state.
Meatheads Burgers and Fries: Opened first store in Bloomington, Ill., in 2007. Now has four locations in Illinois. Plans to expand to roughly 25 locations in the Chicago area in the next two to three years.
Shake Shack: Began in 2002 as a New York City hot dog cart and opened its first burger restaurant in 2004. Now has four locations in New York City and Miami Beach and expects to have seven by the end of the year.
Bobby's Burger Palace: Opened first restaurant in 2008 on Long Island. Five locations in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and New York. Recently announced plans to expand into the Washington, D.C. market.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

It's a tie!

I finally visited the Dupont Circle Five Guys yesterday. This means I've now visited every 5G in DC, and all but one inside the Beltway. (And I plan on hitting College Park this weekend.)

Current count: 74

Special note: I took the Metro over, and the Dupont circle station escalator was out. Even given this nagging from the Nancys over at CSPI, walking up the escalator made the lunch a net zero calorie gain.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

600 Five Guys locations, and counting.

So, that's 3,000 guys, right?

From the 5G corporate Twitter account:

"We just opened our 600th location!!!! Lincoln, NE that's you! Find our newest location at 1230 P Street, Lincoln, NE 68508. Go there now!"

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Five Guys on Food Network

The Food Network's "Unwrapped" is mostly a commercial, and sometime blatantly so, but usually watchable anyway. The last episode included a segment on Five Guys. Since Unwrapped is produced in Colroado, it featured the store in Colorado Springs, Colorado, which I have been to. (It is store #369 and I was there last August.)

The show will be rerun:

May 13, 2010
11:30 PM ET/PT
May 14, 2010
2:30 AM ET/PT

Set your Tivo.

Friday, April 16, 2010

A quick note on the store #s:

Five guys stores were numbered according to the order they opened. But last year they reserved #500 - #999 for corporate owned stores, and resumed numbering franchises at #1000.

I am pleased they are keeping some stores corporate, as it keeps HQ closer to the burgers, in my opinion.

Friday, February 26, 2010

I might even vote for this guy...maybe...

According to this and this, Michael Pipe, a recent graduate from Penn State, and (more importantly for our purposes) current assistant manager at Five Guys Famous Burgers and Fries, is currently running for the Democrat nomination in Pennsylvania's 5th Congressional District.

I have a little bit of an interest in politics, and a huge interest in Five Guys, so this is a nice combination for me. The 5th is a very large district in northern central PA, and the current representative (a Republican) is in his first term. Apparently, Ass't Manager Pipe worked for the Obama Campaign in 2008, and now wants to ring doorbells for himself.

There appears to be only one Five Guys in the district, and that is the one in State College (State College, 226 W. College Ave., State College, PA) so I am guessing that is the one that employes our aspiring candidate. Good for him. A grease soaked bag of fries in every home!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A few things

I've been slow lately on store visits. Just 1 in January and 4 so far in February. The problem I am running into is that the nearest store to me that I have not yet been to is an hour drive away. An hour there, 1/2 hour to eat, hour back - I don't have a lot of 2 1/2 hour free spots in my days. So I think the plan will be to move away from lunch time visits and start more field trips where I get two or three at time.

I am pleased to see that the online survey extended past the 12/31/09 deadline first listed. I figure I've done about 30 so far. Some day, I'll win that $25 gift card.

I revisited store number 2 (Now the oldest location - see here) last weekend. Although it is the closest store to me, I haven't been there in awhile, and when I started my quest to visit all the stores I thought I would hold this one back for another visit until some significant came along. It turns out, 3 feet of snow, kids who have had school cancelled for 7 days now (and counting) and no other nearby store is pretty significant.

Five Guys opened store number 569 yesterday. I have visited 64 locations. I am falling behind.