Burger bereft Hawaii is not, but that doesn’t mean national burger chains don’t have an eye on isle expansion.
Virginia-based Five Guys Burgers and Fries is coming — relatively soon.
"We hope to, within the next year or so, be able to come to Hawaii," said Mark Moseley, director of franchise development for the chain with 620 restaurants in 48 states. "Hawaii has been on our radar for quite a while."
Five Guys was established in Arlington, Va., in 1986 by Jerry and Janie Murrell, and its restaurants use only fresh ground beef that "has never been frozen," Moseley said. The buns are baked in bakeries locally.
That contributes to the supply chain logistics Five Guys will have to devise. Setting up such a system means opening just a single location would not pencil out.
Five Guys has "a lot of stores coming for Hawaii, though we haven’t been able to put all the logistics together," yet, Moseley said.
The company is awash in logistics, as the chain is going international, to Canada, "Europe and other places," and has some 3,000 stores in development with 225 opening this year.
Five Guys has approved the franchisee for the Hawaii stores, which may 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, he said.
"I love Hawaii," said Moseley, who has been to the islands numerous times, notably as a member of the NFL Washington Redskins for Pro Bowls in the late 1970s and early 1980s. "I have some very good friends associated with the Redskins in Hawaii."
Boulevard Saimin lives on
One family business has become two.
The Boulevard Saimin-founding Tanaka family has moved to establish Tanaka Saimin at the old Weyerhaeuser plant, now known as 900 Nimitz, but the old restaurant is staying put.
"We never closed. … We are staying here, at the old location," said Boulevard Saimin President Lynn Yagi, who has changed the name of the circa-1956 eatery to Dillingham Saimin.
"We’re going to stay here under that new name, and everything is the same."
Well, the menu is "pretty much the same," she said.
Some employees did make the jump to the new joint, but many stayed and they have been joined by new cooks and servers who are being trained.
The staff is up to 33, Yagi said, but it is also still a family business. Her husband, Warren, thought he was retired. He is now actively involved in the restaurant, while their sons Ricky, 27, and Reid, 25, help with computers, errands and other aspects, outside of their full-time jobs.
Dillingham Saimin is along a corridor that will be affected by Honolulu’s looming rail system, "but they said this building is not going to go down."
There might be construction around it, but "I don’t think it’ll come soon."
With five or more years left on the lease, "that’s why I decided to just stay," she said.
Boulevard, er, Dillingham Saimin’s hours will remain the same, 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays.
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Erika Engle is a reporter with the Star-Advertiser. Reach her by e-mail at email@example.com.