US burger joint Five Guys to open in Singapore

Five Guys is known for its customisable beef burgers (above), hotdogs, milkshakes and sandwiches. Zouk Group is bringing in the franchise and chief executive officer Andrew Li says there will be more than one outlet here.
Five Guys is known for its customisable beef burgers (above), hotdogs, milkshakes and sandwiches. PHOTO: FIVE GUYS, ZHANG XUAN
Five Guys is known for its customisable beef burgers (above), hotdogs, milkshakes and sandwiches. Zouk Group is bringing in the franchise and chief executive officer Andrew Li says there will be more than one outlet here.
Zouk Group is bringing in the franchise and chief executive officer Andrew Li says there will be more than one outlet here.PHOTO: FIVE GUYS, ZHANG XUAN

Brought in by the Zouk Group as part of expansion plans, the franchise will add to the slew of openings in the F&B scene here

Move over Shake Shack. Another iconic American burger joint is coming to town.

The Five Guys franchise, slated to open its first outlet in the last quarter of this year, will be brought in by lifestyle company Zouk Group. It will add to the slew of high-profile openings in the food and beverage scene this year.

Details of its location in a "central" area will be released soon, says Mr Andrew Li, 36, chief executive officer of the Zouk Group in an exclusive interview with The Straits Times.

Five Guys was founded in Arlington, Virginia, in 1986, by the Murrell family and named after their five sons. It was run as a family business until 2003, when they went into franchising.

The brand now has more than 1,600 restaurants worldwide across the United States, Europe, Middle East and Asia. Its first Asian outpost in Hong Kong opened in November last year.

Five Guys is known for its customisable beef burgers as well as hotdogs, sandwiches and milkshakes. The menu in Singapore will be the same as that in the US and Hong Kong.

Prices are yet to be confirmed, says Mr Li, who has been in talks with the brand since last year.

However, as the outlet will serve alcohol such as craft beer, it will not be halal-certified, unlike outlets in the Middle East.

On the prospect of opening more outlets, he says: "There will defi-nitely be more than one outlet here, depending on how many the market can sustain. Opening too many at the beginning can result in the outlets cannibalising one another."

Bringing in Five Guys signals the Zouk Group is going full steam ahead with its food and beverage expansion plans, as part of Mr Li's bid to transform the 28-year-old Zouk club from nightlife operator to a full-fledged lifestyle group. The club was sold to Genting Hong Kong in 2015.

Besides acquiring franchises and bringing them to Singapore, it is also looking to develop its own F&B brands as well as acquire local brands to take overseas.

The first F&B brand by the group is Fuhu Restaurant & Bar, in partnership with Hong Kong celebrity chef Alvin Leung, which will offer modern Chinese fare. Its first outlet is slated to open by the third quarter of this year at Resorts World Genting.

Fuhu, which means Lucky Tiger in Mandarin, is described as a "vibe-dining concept".

On the food, the London-born Mr Li says: "It will focus on Asian food cooked in the United Kingdom, bringing back nostalgia of when I grew up there. Think dishes such as lobster noodles and crispy aromatic duck. It will be cuisine like this, but with a twist to be show-worthy."

There are also plans to open Fuhu on the group's new cruise ships, as well as the upcoming Resorts World Las Vegas. The projects in Las Vegas are slated to launch in 2021 and the Zouk Group is looking to bring in an Asian food street.

 
 

Mr Li intends to open Fuhu in Singapore as well. After all, chef Leung is no stranger here, with his restaurants 15 Stamford by Alvin Leung at The Capitol Kempinski Hotel and Forbidden Duck at the Marina Bay Link Mall.

Mr Li adds: "We don't want to grow too fast with too many concepts. We are open to seeing what franchises we can bring to the market and also from Asia to overseas. We want to get our name out there and show that we are serious about this.

"Singapore's F&B scene can be challenging and you need to give people a 360-degree experience. Singaporeans can be loyal, but you have to be consistent. Once they have a bad experience, there're too many excuses to go elsewhere."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 12, 2019, with the headline 'US burger joint Five Guys to open in Singapore'. Print Edition | Subscribe