Five Guys Burgers and Fries appears to be ready for mainland China.
The Greater Washington-born burger chain is preparing to open a location this year in a high-end mall in the Xidan commercial district of Beijing, according to The Beijinger, an English-language site covering China’s second-largest city. The location would be just less than 3 miles from The Forbidden City.
We’ve reached out to Five Guys’ corporate office in Lorton for confirmation and will update this space when we hear back.
It would be the chain’s second franchise location in China. The first opened last year in Hong Kong, which is a special administrative district of the world’s most populous country and has separate economic and governing systems from the mainland.
Five Guys currently counts nearly 1,600 locations around the globe and it posted $1.7 billion in systemwide sales in 2017. Last year, the burger chain opened franchises in Oman, Belgium, Bahrain, Italy, Luxembourg and Switzerland, in addition to Hong Kong.
The restaurant was founded in Arlington in 1986 and started franchising locations in 2003. It opened its first European location in the United Kingdom in 2013. It was named the U.K.’s most popular fast-food chain in 2016 and 2018.
The international rollout has been swift, but it hasn’t always been smooth. Last year, city officials in Amsterdam refused to give Five Guys a license to open in the city’s center because the restaurant concept ran against the area’s zoning plan. The largest city in the Netherlands has been looking to reduce the number of fast-food restaurants, and Five Guys was a textbook example. The chain has nine locations elsewhere in the Netherlands.
Founder Jerry Murrell told Washingtonian in 2016 he was originally reluctant to open locations abroad, fearing it might hamper the quality of the product.
Ultimately, Five Guys didn’t have to change a thing on its original menu. “The product over there is just like here,” Murrell told Washingtonian.
Related: Five Guys Franchise
To maintain the quality established at his original restaurants, Murrell has held onto many of his original suppliers as the chain has pushed overseas.
By Drew Hansen
Source: Biz Journals