POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, May 12, 2014
LAST UPDATED: 5:37 p.m. HST, May 12, 2014
Nearly four years ago your columnist shared news that Virginia-based Five Guys Burgers would be expanding to Hawaii "within the next year or so," according to Director of Franchise Development Mark Moseley.
So, where are they?
Openings in Hawaii are "something we are in the process of working out," said Victoria Cerminaro, Five Guys customer service and marketing administrator, via email.
"However, we continue to be hopeful about future stores there and appreciate your patience during this process," she added.
She was not permitted to divulge the name or contact information of the franchisee for the islands, who had been approved by Five Guys at the time of the 2010 column.
It was projected back then that the opening could come sooner, rather than later. "If enough people start hollering, ‘We want Five Guys in Hawaii,' (the owners) might start devoting the resources we need" to speed up the process, Moseley was quoted as saying.
By the way, yes, Moseley is the former NFL Washington Redskin you may be wondering about.
Five Guys Burgers and Fries began as a family business in 1986, and in 2003 the company started franchising.
There are now some 1,000 restaurants, either company-owned or franchised, and another 1,500 are in development. In 2010 the company had 620 restaurants with 3,000 in development. All the North American franchises are sold out, according to its website.
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L&L EXPANSION BURST
Eddie Flores was waiting for a phone call Friday afternoon, anticipating confirmation that an L&L Hawaiian Barbecue restaurant had opened in Jakarta, Indonesia, where it was Saturday morning. "It is in a major shopping center," he said.
When last we spoke with Flores, it was over a controversy surrounding L&L's introduction of a saimin burger and corollary dishes, based off the popularity of the ramen burger craze.
"That's the best thing I ever introduced," he said, saying that a month later systemwide sales were up 20 percent.
The occasion this time is that L&L is experiencing a burst of expansion, credited to its franchisees.
The third location in China has opened, for instance.
The franchisee for Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, has signed a lease for a spot in the airport and plans to open later this year. The franchisee's twin daughters "are very pretty girls" and will be flying to Hawaii in a few days for an L&L advertising shoot. "I still gotta find a handsome guy," Flores chuckled.
Meanwhile, an L&L will be opening in San Antonio on May 28.
Because Texans have a specific expectation when it comes to the word "barbecue," the decision was made to rename the concept L&L Hawaiian Grill in that market, Flores said. The franchisee set up a Facebook page and has been posting images of signage, food, Jon Murakami-commissioned cartoons, and a shot of the booth it hosted at the 18th annual Alamo Aloha Fiestaval last month. Posts under the images reveal eager diners in the marketplace. "I'm excited, too," said Flores, as many logistical hurdles had to be cleared to make way for the Lone Star State location.
Because white rice, which we take for granted, is not a customary side dish on the mainland, the franchisee will offer side dishes more familiar to the area, such as beans. However, with three major military bases nearby, Flores is confident that well-traveled service members and their families will be open to trying the local-style food — or maybe they'll even be reconnecting with it after being stationed in Hawaii, he said.
Also at the end of this month and way closer to home, L&L will open a unit at Kamehameha Shopping Center, a long-desired location, Flores said.
Two new locations on Flamingo Road in Las Vegas and in Castro Valley, Calif., opened last week, he said, and "the one I'm really gung-ho about is the Guam one." The franchisee anticipates opening three or four units on the island, and also is likely to open L&Ls in Okinawa.
Many L&L franchisees wind up launching their own family business mini-empires. "They open one, are successful, they sell to a family member, they open another, sell to other family members," and so on, he said. "That's why we're able to open so many."
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