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Five Guys Burgers Opening in Vancouver!


Parsad
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Well, I guess my desires for a Steakburger will have to be satisfied once a year in Chicago!  Fortunately, cult-chain Five Guys Burgers is opening a Canadian store in Vancouver, and hope to have 200 open in Canada over the next decade or so.

 

http://www.kelowna.com/2009/11/27/obamas-preferred-burger-joint-setting-up-shop-in-langley-five-guys-opens-in-january-with-further-outlets-planned-for-metro/

 

Are you listening Sardar?  Get on it!  Find a great Canadian franchisee for Vancouver...or at least Seattle...since Five Guys and In-N-Out aren't there yet.  Cheers!   

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FGB has probably a lower cost model than SNS.  There stores aren't that big and they really skimp on the decor and furnishings.  It's basically a stripped down operation.  

 

 

That remains to be seen. SNS is getting ready to roll out new locations that cost about $1 million to build, and will net about the sames amount in sales every year.

 

CMG is a great example of a stripped down operation too.

 

 

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Five Guys originated here in the Washington, D.C. area.  Back in the 90's there were only a couple of locations.  Now, according to their website, there are over 450 locations.  I always get that feeling of hometown pride when I see a Five Guys in a far off place that I am visiting.

 

Having eaten many a Five Guys burger, I can tell you (i) that they are great and (ii) that the cost to build-out their stores is very low on a relative basis compared to other restaurants.  The low start-up cost is due to the bare bones style of the stores, the counter-only service, and the limited menu (thus, a limited amount of kitchen equipment).

 

And Five Guys employs one of the best (possibly inadvertent) sales techniques that I have ever seen.  It is extremely simple, most customers are not consciously aware of it, and it is so good that it should be studied by business schools and competitors alike.  Can anyone tell me what it is?

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I'm not sure what you are referring to Tooskin, but is it the free peanuts they offer or no coupons on their products?  I've never been to one, so I'm not sure if it is part of the greeting or something in the design of the store, if it isn't the two things I already mentioned.

 

Surprisingly, the interior of the stores don't look entirely different than a Steak'n Shake.  One of the most obvious similiarities is the three-square checkerboard pattern that adorns the interior of both restaurants.  Steak'n Shake's is black, while Five Guys seems to be red. 

 

Steak'n Shake seems to be adding certain menu items that are similar to the Five Guys burgers...BBQ & A-1, as well as the Jalapeno topping and mushroom topping on the short-term specials offered by Steak'n Shake.  Both companies seem to make the double-patty burger the standard as well.  I'm looking forward to it when it opens.  Cheers!

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The other thing I've noticed about Five Guys from pictures is that their menu seems to be priced around Fatburger but it's well above the prices at Steak'n Shake or In-N-Out.  You can get a single-patty Steakburger meal for $2.89, while a Little Burger (single-patty) with fries and a small coke would run you close to $7 at Five Guys...although they don't have a small fries and Coke, so you would get the regular sizes. 

 

Still a single-patty Steakburger with regular fries and drink would be about $4.50 or less!  The same meal at In-N-Out would also be about $4.50.  It's actually quite hard to spend more than $7 at Steak'n Shake.  For that you could get a double-patty Steakburger, fries and a large Chocolate shake!  I think Sardar's been very smart about pricing and providing value to customers.  That's why traffic numbers have risen so quickly.  Cheers!

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And Five Guys employs one of the best (possibly inadvertent) sales techniques that I have ever seen.  It is extremely simple, most customers are not consciously aware of it, and it is so good that it should be studied by business schools and competitors alike.  Can anyone tell me what it is?

 

OK, I'll try.  Every time I order a burger, I'm given a double!  It looks so good I don't want to take it back for a single.  ;)

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Both companies seem to make the double-patty burger the standard as well.

 

Bingo!!  Their menu presents the double burger as the "regular" burger and the single burger as the "little burger".  I don't know if they did this intentionally or not, but the result is that most people end up buying the double burger rather than the single burger.  Such a simple and passive way of up-selling and I'm guessing that most customers don't even realize it.  What self-respecting man is going to walk into a Five Guys with his buddies and say, "I'd like the little burger please"?

 

http://www.fiveguys.com/menu.aspx

 

Another thing that is interesting about Five Guys is that, in my experience, it doesn't matter what size fries you order - you get the same amount either way.  They basically drop a cup into a paper bag and then scoop a huge pile of fresh-cut fries and drop them into the bag (usually, there are way more fries out of the cup than in it).  Keep that in mind Sanjeev, when go for your first burger there.

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FGB has probably a lower cost model than SNS.  There stores aren't that big and they really skimp on the decor and furnishings.  It's basically a stripped down operation.  Fresh burgers and hot fries.

 

You forgot over-priced...

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I had my first experience at 5 Guys yesterday.  Needless to say the bill was a little under $10 for a burger, fries, and drink.  In my mind SNS is 10xs better for half the cost.

 

Now, I wouldn't say it's that bad, but here in Pittsburgh we have a 5-guys as well as a few Steak and Shake locations, and while I think the burger at 5-guys is better than S&S, it's certainly not a better value.  (Nor is it what I think of as a "great burger"--I prefer thick patties).  The fries are miles better at 5-guys, but you better have someone to share with.

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I had my first experience at 5 Guys yesterday.  Needless to say the bill was a little under $10 for a burger, fries, and drink.  In my mind SNS is 10xs better for half the cost.

 

Wow!  That's steep.  Vancouver's local burger chain that's been around for 70 years is Whitespot.  You can get a Whitespot burger with their "triple-O" sauce, unlimited fries, coleslaw and a drink for about $7 CDN.  Take a look below:

 

http://imonlyhereforthefood.com/images/Food/WhiteSpot/WhiteSpot002.jpg

 

Unfortunately Whitespot is trying to change with the times, and they have widened their menu and created more full-dining locations, while also creating more standalone type locations that focus on the core burger menu.  I'm sure they've increased revenue, but they've probably done some damage to the brand. 

 

I was a die-hard Whitespot fan, but go there increasingly less for the last few years because of the widening menu and the full-dining focus.  Burgers are really comfort food and companies can hurt their brand by losing focus on what got them to where they are.  If Five Guys pricing in Canada is anything like what CONeal experienced, I probably won't go there that much, and I would suspect alot of people won't.

 

By the way, for those people who have tasted a Whitespot burger and swear by it (or an In-N-Out burger for that matter), I can tell you for a fact that a Steak'n Shake steakburger is actually tastier.  And that has more to do with the flavour of the patty rather than anything else.  The steakburger patty while thin, is one of the most flavourful patties I've tasted in the lower-tier ($7 or less for a burger) burger market.  In fact, for the price, you can't get a tastier burger...especially the double steak-burger!  Cheers! 

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I ate my first Five guys burger 2 weeks ago. One cheeseburger, large fries, coke, water and a little cheeseburger came to about $17.

 

The line was out of the door but I wanted to try it. Took 10 minutes to get served about another 7 minutes for the food to arrive – getting a table took a couple of minutes – but it was a busy Saturday Lunchtime.

 

 

I like the limited menu – that appeals to me. Know what you do well and focus on it. Makes it simpler for the staff, setting theplace up, the customers etc etc. But you have to do it right.

 

This place did it right.. staff were quick, efficient and even though it was slammed they had 2 staff members in the sitdown area constantly cleaning.

 

 

Its not a cheap burger but it is very good. Its about 20 miles from me so if I’m in that area then I’d consider stopping there rather than any other fast food joint. If it was closer I probably wouldn’t be in there much more as it isn’t cheap for a quick meal.

 

 

My very particular 7 year old daughter ate all of the burger and assisted with the fries and gave it a thumbs up. She was not happy that we went there instead of going to a burger king (for the piece of free plastic tat they were giving away that week) but after eating she approved of the choice. Even with the 2 of us we did not finish the large fries.

 

 

This Five guys was in a strip mall and may turn out to be the perfect size once the initial rush has died down. However parking was an issue for some and seating for that many people was proving a problem.

 

I’d love to see a steak and shake up here in the north East USA. I shan’t be holding my breath though.

 

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