Burger powerhouse expands into Leesburg
The popular gourmet cheeseburger chain is set to open its corporate owned restaurant in mid April.
The new Five Guys will be in the Battlefield Shopping Center next to WINK Radio and Shopper's Food Warehouse.
Five Guys burst onto the scene in 1986 with the opening of the first carry-out restaurant in Arlington. Four additional restaurants soon followed in the Arlington-Alexandria area.
Five Guys is the brain trust of the Murrell sons. Since opening up franchising rights to the entire country in 2003, the business has expanded to more than 1,000 locations in 46 states and six Canadian provinces. Its corporate headquarters are in Lorton, off Interstate 95.
With locations already at Dulles Airport and Ashburn, Leesburg's Director of Economic Development Marantha Edwards has been trying to get the company to invest in Leesburg for years.
“Years ago at a conference, I was able to reach out to those folks and try and get them interested in Leesburg,” Edwards said. “Our talks never could get anywhere and it went quiet for a while, but now three or four years later, they have realized Leesburg can be a good market for them.”
According to Molly Catalano, director of communications for Five Guys, the feeling was mutual as the county in general has been an appealing location for the franchise.
“Northern Virginia is our home base and Leesburg is a little bit further out there, but it is still in Northern Virginia, so we are excited to open another location in our area,” Catalano said. “Loudoun County is very appealing to us and we have been looking for a location to expand in the county for years.”
Over the last year, Leesburg has seen a growing demand for gourmet American style burgers with the opening of several restaurants. First, there was MELT, then Kraze Burgers opened in Lansdowne and most recently BurgerFi opened in the Village at Leesburg.
Unlike many successful food chains, Five Guys has always been about making the best burger possible and as a result, they still own several stores instead of franchising all of them out. Leesburg's restaurant will be owned by Five Guys corporate.
“When we first started expanding and franchising we only had five owned by the family. We did that because we like to be in the same business as our franchisees and we have found that to be a good model for our business to be working alongside them,” Catalano said. “The fact that Five Guys [from a corporate standpoint] was still making hamburgers was important to the family.
“We would just rather be in the business of making hamburgers, as opposed to just overseeing stores,” Catalano said.
Edwards thinks despite all the competition from other gourmet burger places, Five Guys will be easily supported upon its arrival.
“It is always satisfying to get something you know the marketplace can support and when that happens, folks are going to be excited. In this case, it is a great hamburger place and we hear positive things,” Edwards said. “We feel there is a growing confidence in the Leesburg market and I think this is an indication that retailers and restaurants are continuing to find Leesburg as a valuable place to be."