Saturday, January 16, 2010

2011 Zagat Ratings Are Out - Five Guys Makes the Best Fast-Food Burger in the Country

Ya can't get anymore prestigious than Zagat!! Click on the sentence below!!

Five Guys Makes the Best Fast-Food Burger in the Country

Five Guys Website with locations in our area accompanied with an online menu

And then read this article that I cut and pasted here. Its about the simple beginnings of the people who brought you the world's greatest hamburger.

'Five Guys revive American love affair with the hamburger'

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.

Unlike most of corporate America, its owners shun publicity -- they politely declined an interview request -- and even more remarkably do not believe in advertising, but Five Guys is riding a wave of popularity.

Jerry and Janie Murrell opened the first Five Guys restaurant in 1986 in the Washington suburb of Alexandria, Virginia. The brand name relates to the Murrell's five sons, who have since grown up and help manage the expanding burger and fries chain.

Shoot forward 20 years and the family formula of cooking customers' burgers while they wait, cooking fries in peanut oil and offering mostly free toppings, is raking in fatter profits from tens of thousands of customers.

Chalkboards propped up in Five Guys's red-and-white-tiled restaurants inform diners of the source of the potatoes sliced for frying.

In 2003, Five Guys operated just five restaurants in the Alexandria area; by the end of 2005 the chain had grown to some 75 outlets along the East Coast.

The privately held firm's empire has grown since then at a much faster clip, to a current 176 restaurants stretching from Florida to New York. The company says it has also sold franchise rights for 1,200 new outlets which are expected to open during the next decade, as the company expands into the Midwest.

Each outlet generates average sales of over one million dollars annually, and the company's 2006 combined sales grew to 106 million dollars, according to Technomic, a Chicago-based food service industry consulting firm.

Five Guys has climbed to 229th place in Technomic's annual ranking of the 500 largest US restaurant chains and has developed a "cult following," according to the consultancy.

Five Guys sizzling growth comes as other, larger and more established fast-food rivals vie to shore up their market share.

National burger chain Wendy's said on June 18 it was exploring a possible sale of the company as it seeks to maintain sales volumes. It has retained JP Morgan and Lehman Brothers to help it find potential suitors.

McDonald's, which reported a whopping first-quarter net profit of 762 million dollars, controls the US hamburger and fries scene, and has been vying to promote more healthy menu options.

Five Guys is still small compared with the world's biggest restaurant chain: McDonald's has over 30,000 outlets serving about 50 million hungry customers every day in over 119 countries.

But McDonald's, which also started out as a modest family firm, and other rivals like Burger King are likely to be keeping a close eye on any firm trying to beat them at their own game.

Five Guys generally prices its burgers and fries higher than its rivals, and bills average six dollars per customer, according to Technomic.

Because the company is privately held it is not obliged to publish its earnings and there are few industry analysts who track its operations.

Washington region restaurant reviewers, however, have heaped praise on its burgers and fries and it even has its own page on Wikipedia.

Although co-founder Jerry Murrell declined to be interviewed, a Five Guys spokeswoman said its success had stemmed from the family's obsession with its menu.

"The Murrells are fanatical about every detail, from the bread to the bacon to the potatoes; even items like pickles and lettuce. Five Guys will never short-change the customer by trying to cut food costs," the spokeswoman, Molly Catalano, said.