This is part of an exclusive online series by Nation's Restaurant News and Chain Store Guide, profiling the restaurant industry's top 10 growth chains. Go to NRN.com's Special Reports page to read more profiles highlighting the industry's fastest-growing players based on five-year unit growth rates.
In the "better burger" boom of the past year, Five Guys Burgers and Fries is the undisputed leader of the pack.
Five Guys has more than 500 locations with plans to open 200 more this year, according to its website. The chain keeps its menu simple: burgers, fries, hot dogs and grilled cheese sandwiches, though patrons can customize their orders with a choice of 15 free toppings.
Five Guys has made a foodservice splash and served such high-profile customers as President Barack Obama, who ordered a burger with jalapenos, lettuce, tomato and mustard during a visit last spring, according to NBC.
The chain also has picked up financing for growth despite the economic slowdown. In November, Five Guys closed on a $30 million credit facility with GE Capital, Franchise Finance.
Competing for consumers in the burger business, Five Guys meets with Smashburger, the Habit Burger Grill, Elevation Burger and several smaller regional players each looking to gain market share. At the same time, fast-food chains like McDonald's and Burger King have introduced premium burger lines. Celebrity chefs are also getting in the game, with upscale burger offerings from Daniel Boulud, Marcus Samuelsson, Emeril Lagasse and Bobby Flay.
- Better burger brands race to $1 billion
- Chick-fil-A, Five Guys tops in QSR study
- Five Guys Burgers gets more financing
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