Five Guys has been a Washington DC institution since the late ’80s and has since spread far and wide across the country. They are known for their simple but delicious menu of American classics like burgers, fries, hotdogs, sandwiches, and milkshakes.
So if you’ve heard rumors, you may be wondering, is Five Guys closing? Surprisingly, the idea of a Five Guys franchise is relatively recent. Between 1986 and 2001, Five Guys was relegated to only the DC metro area — the introduction of a nationwide franchise of Five Guys locations didn’t come about until 2002. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic putting the entirety of the foodservice industry into a state of uncertainty, rumors began to crop up about various restaurant chains closing — one of them being Five Guys.
This rumor seemed to pick up on Twitter late in 2020 and spread like wildfire. Many Five Guys fans have been upset about hearing rumors that their favorite burger joint might be closing their doors, so we’re here to set the record straight.
So, is Five Guys Actually Closing?
Five Guys fans everywhere can breathe a sigh of relief. No, Five Guys isn’t closing. Like the rest of the food industry, Five Guys has felt the impact of the pandemic. In terms of locations, they seem to be doing fine. However, there is some confusion on the semantics of the situation. Five Guys sold 27 locations in Texas late in 2020, and I, probably like many others, initially thought that that meant that these locations would be closing. That’s not the case, though. These Five Guys locations are staying put. Another company, Encore Restaurants LLC, bought those locations and has taken over operations.
Encore Restaurants simply bought 27 franchises. Nothing otherwise has changed. Legal and industry jargon can sometimes be confusing to the laymen’s eye, and considering the times we’re currently living in, it’s understandable that people might become upset. Finding out that it looks like your favorite burger spot is closing could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back that day. We’re trying to hang onto the little things that make us happy, right?
Where Did These Rumors Come From?
Unsurprisingly, these rumors came from Twitter. However, it doesn’t seem like it was an intentional spreading of fake bad news, but simply a misunderstanding. The definitively original tweet is impossible to pinpoint, but chatter on Twitter about Five Guys closing all chains started cropping up in December 2020 and spread around the internet. One Tweet was entirely misleading, while many others were simply reactionary. Though one of the original Tweets has since been deleted, it was originally only about one location, in particular — the Five Guys in Oman.
The internet doesn’t always provide a lot of context, and people are quick to jump to conclusions. Naturally, everyone thought the entire franchise was going under. This person on Twitter was, presumably, talking about their local Five Guys location — how were they supposed to know that their tweet would blow up? According to Google, the Five Guys location in Oman has, in fact, closed permanently, but Five Guys fans needn’t worry about the franchise as a whole.
Will It Close in the Future?
Presently, there is no indication that Five Guys will be closing its doors anytime soon. As we mentioned earlier, Five Guys has definitely felt the impact of the pandemic just like everyone else, but they’ve adapted accordingly with new processes, guidelines, and strategies. Last updated in May of 2020, Five guys have posted a statement including a list of new regulations and procedures listed on its website detailing the COVID precautions it is taking and how it intends to handle moving forward during the pandemic. Otherwise, Five Guys is doing very well, all things considered. Every large chain restaurant suffers from the occasional location closing. Its sale of 27 locations in Texas might have also been part of its effort to avoid closing locations. Handing off locations to franchisees offloads time and effort for the corporation as a whole. As of 2021, a typical Five Guys location makes about 1.2 million dollars a year, and Five Guys as a whole actually saw a 3% sales growth in 2020, so Five Guys fans have nothing to worry about.
Other Restaurant Closings
Five Guys is doing alright, but not all restaurants have been so lucky. The pandemic has really dented the foodservice industry, and some restaurants and chains have felt it more than others. Steak n’ Shake had already been in the process of reconfiguring 107 temporarily-closed locations into “quick-service” spots rather than sit-down locations when the pandemic hit. While Steak n’ Shake intended to re-open most of those locations, the cost it took to renovate these locations piled onto the challenges introduced by the pandemic caused things to change. According to an article published in early 2020, Steak n’ Shake planned on closing 57 restaurants as sales dropped 37% due to the pandemic.
All in all, there is no reason to worry about Five Guys closing its doors anytime soon. While it’s seen its fair share of strife due to the pandemic, Five Guys has remained strong and has seen recent — albeit small — growth compared to some of its competitors, which have seen sharp losses over the last couple of years. Internet rumors are rarely true, though they are worth checking out from time to time. It’s always a good idea to double-check the facts, no matter the topic. So, don’t worry about losing your favorite burger, and instead, why not go pick one up?