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Obama's favourite burger place has opened in Montreal.

 

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I just wish them the best of luck. Seeing Johnny Rockets failed back in the 90s. Krispy Kreme donuts died only within a few years of entering the market in Montreal. Same goes with Red Lobster.

 

A popular U.S. fast-food chain - one favoured by President Barack Obama - has arrived in the Montreal area.

 

Familiar to many Quebecers who vacation in Florda, Five Guys Burgers and Fries was ranked best U.S. fast-food burger restaurant in a recent Zagat Survey. In Quebec, the outlets have been renamed Five Guys Hamburgers et Frites.

 

Last year, the eatery received a flurry of publicity after Obama made a surprise stop at a Washington Five Guys outlet while being filmed for a day-in-the-life-of special by NBC television.

 

The chain unveiled its first Quebec establishment in Vaudreuil-Dorion in July. There are plans to open more restaurants in Old Montreal, Laval, Brossard and other locations around the city during the next few months.

 

Five Guys is known for its policy of using only using fresh food - none of the franchises use freezers - and for making its patties and french fries by hand every morning.

 

"It's like a home-cooked burger," said Wayne Sellers, president of the group that owns the rights to the franchises in Quebec and most of Ontario. "That's what you get with a hand-formed patty and fresh-cut fries."

 

But is there room for another burger chain in Canada's competitive restaurant industry?

 

NPD Group food service industry analyst Linda Strachan thinks so.

 

"There is no reason to expect that Five Guys wouldn't be successful in Canada," she said in a phone interview from Toronto. "Burgers and fries are the top two food items ordered in restaurants."

 

She said that despite the general pullback on consumer spending in the restaurant industry, burger joints are experiencing a small amount of growth, especially those that sell premium burgers.

 

"It's comfort food - a food for the times."

 

After working for many years in the Manhattan commercial real-estate industry, Sellers teamed up with a partner in 2007 to start a real-estate private equity fund. Since the U.S. market was in turmoil at the time, they decided to look at other business opportunities. That was when they decided to try to bring Springfield, Va.-based Five Guys into the Canadian market.

 

Launched in 1986, Five Guys Holdings Inc., the franchisor of the restaurants, is owned by the Murrell family. Last November, the fast-growing company received a $30-million (U. S.) loan from GE Capital to fund its growth. There are now more than 650 franchises open in the U.S. and five in Canada. The first Canadian outpost opened in Medicine Hat, Alta., in January.

 

As far as running the actual restaurant, the simple menu - hamburgers, hot dogs, grilled cheese, fries and fresh vegetable toppings - makes it easy to manage the outlets, Sellers said.

 

All of the regular burgers come with two patties. The most expensive item is a bacon cheese burger that sells for $7.99. A "little" hamburger - that means only one patty - sells for $4.49. Each patty is approximately 3.5 ounces.

 

Sellers said Five Guys differentiates itself from other burger joints by offering good-quality food for good value.

 

He said restaurants will often sell a burger for $14 plus tax and tip. At Five Guys, you can get a decent burger for $8.

 

"It's sit-down restaurant, quality food for fast-food prices."

 

Despite the popularity of its food, there have been concerns raised in the U.S. about the high fat content of its menu items.

 

Men's Health magazine put the company's fries on its list of "20 Worst Restaurant Foods in America." In a June report, the Nutrition Action Health Letter wrote that an unadorned Five Guys' bacon cheeseburger - which it said was equal to two McDonald's quarter pounders - and an order of large fries add up to a whopping 2,380 calories.

 

When asked whether a high calorie count is likely to turn off potential customers, NPD's Strachan was upbeat.

 

"For a burger to taste good, it's got to have a certain fat content," she said. "When someone goes out for a burger, they are not looking for a healthy meal - they want a burger."

 

As for Five Guys being successful in Canada, she said that when a new restaurant opens, it often experiences strong sales as people try out the latest place.

 

(Courtesy of The Montreal Gazette)

 

I just wonder why they opened up on McGill and Saint Maurice (Old Montreal). Of all places. Why not more in the city?

 

Plus right across the street, there is a British-type Fish and Chips restaurant opening up.

Edited by jesseps
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Bah. Five Guys just isn't that good; soggy buns, overcooked patties. Besides, m:brgr serves the best hamburger I've ever had, Montreal or elsewhere.

 

I wouldn't know. I never tried their burgers (Five Guys) and I don't plan on it either.

 

As for m:brgr. Only thing I really like there is the fries and the massive cookie + ice cream combo. I just wasn't a fan of their Kobe Beef burger.

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Montreal seems to be a graveyard for American fastfood restaurants,Burger king and Wendys got virtually wiped out downtown,Arby's and Red lobster came and went ,Dunkin donuts is getting killed by Tim Hortons,Taco Bell doesn't seem to making any progress and the list goes on and on

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Montreal seems to be a graveyard for American fastfood restaurants,Burger king and Wendys got virtually wiped out downtown,Arby's and Red lobster came and went ,Dunkin donuts is getting killed by Tim Hortons,Taco Bell doesn't seem to making any progress and the list goes on and on

 

 

We should take this as a compliment......;)

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