MOHEGAN LAKE, N.Y. – Diners who are down about their dining options at the Cortlandt Town Center will have one more restaurant to choose from beginning on Tuesday. Five Guys Burgers and Fries will open at 10:55 a.m. Jan. 10.
Randy Warren, director of operations at the franchise location, said the first day will bring “lines out the door hopefully.” Despite being located a stone’s throw from McDonald’s in the same parking lot, “There’s plenty of room for everybody,” Warren said. “We don’t want to knock the competition at all.”
Five Guys is one of the fastest growing franchise restaurants in the country, hoping to open 250 locations per year according to Jeff Segal, district manager for Five Guys Corporate. The location in the Cortlandt Town Center is the 957th location nationwide.
Warren said the franchise has already hired 58 employees, ranging from kids getting their first full-time job, to those who were long-term unemployed. “It’s nice to have a business that’s opening doors rather than closing them,” Warren said. Initially, the franchise is only hiring employees on a full-time basis, although they do not offer benefits for entry-level positions.
The chain began in Arlington, Va., in 1986, and has grown exponentially in the last nine years, since the five Murrell brothers began selling franchise options in Maryland and Virginia. The chain is known for using fresh, not frozen, beef, and lining the dining room walls with potato sacks. The potatoes are not just a prop, they will actually be made into french fries. The average check is about $12 per person, according to Warren.
Five Guys recently caught flak from the nutrition and health advocacy group Center for Science in the Public Interest, which said in a June 2010 release that it’s “the kind of retro joint where you can quickly pack in a pile of calories from meat, cheese, white flour, white potatoes, oil and sugar.”
They cite the regular two-patty bacon cheeseburger, which has 920 calories, a 32-ounce drink for 300 calories, and regular fries at 620 calories as quickly creating a 1,840-calorie meal. However, the regular fries are listed as two servings in Five Guys’ nutritional information. As a point of comparison, a Big Mac at McDonald’s is 540 calories and their quarter-pounder is 410 calories.
“We don’t automatically give you fries and a drink, you have to order it. I like to watch my weight so I order a little hamburger, I don’t order a regular bacon cheeseburger,” said Molly Catalano, spokesperson for Five Guys. A little hamburger is 480 calories.
“We don’t advertise, so we’re not telling you, you should come to our restaurant every day. I think people know that hamburgers and french fries are hamburgers and french fries, it’s not a garden salad,” Catalano said.