New Five Guys reports steady stream of business

Farmington’s Five Guys Burgers and Fries, which opened earlier this month, is the sixth to open in New Mexico

Leigh Black Irvin
Farmington Daily Times
At left, George Martinez, district manager for Five Guys Burgers and Fries, and Jeff Strube, the area manager, talk on Thursday about the new restaurant in Farmington.

FARMINGTON —  After opening on Dec. 5, the new Five Guys Burgers and Fries restaurant on East Main Street has had a steady stream of business, according to Jorge Martinez, the district manager for the chain.

More than 1,000 Five Guys restaurants — named after the five brothers who opened the first restaurant in Arlington, Va., in 1986 — are open nationwide. Farmington's is the sixth in the state, with three others in Albuquerque, one in Las Cruces and one in Santa Fe.

Martinez said the fast-casual restaurant is different from other burger places because of the freshness of its menu items.  

"We don’t even have a freezer or any can openers," he said. "Freshness is probably the biggest thing, plus the quality we put into everything."

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The menu is simple, offering burgers, kosher hot dogs, sandwiches, fries and shakes. All of the toppings for burgers and hot dogs — as well as extras like fruit and cookie bits that can be stirred into the 12 flavors of milkshakes — are included in prices of the item.

One of the more unusual stir-in options for the milkshakes is bacon, said Martinez.

"I tried a salted caramel and bacon shake, and it’s really good," he said.

Because all of the food is fresh, a green chile cheeseburger is not offered, which is a common complaint often heard at New Mexico chain locations, said Jeff Strube, the area manager for Five Guys.

Warrior Brown, 2, gets help from his mom, Alyse Billy, on Thursday at the new Five Guys Burgers and Fries in Farmington.

"Because Hatch green chile isn’t available fresh, we can’t use it," Strube said. "Another complaint is that there are too many fries."

The size of the burgers also sets apart Five Guys apart, Martinez said.

"A lot of people say you go somewhere else and you get a little, flimsy burger, but Five Guys offers a bigger burger," he said.

That is reflected in the price, which is higher than many other burger chains. At Five Guys, a regular burger costs $7.09 and a cheeseburger is $7.79.

"But most people don’t realize that when they’re ordering a regular burger, they’re actually getting a large double patty. Further down on the menu is a 'little burger' for $5.09, which consists of a single patty," Martinez said.

Five Guys fries are made from potatoes shipped fresh from Idaho and Washington. The potatoes are stored in the dining area, stacked in bags around the tables. Small boxes of peanuts are also stacked around the tables so customers have something to munch on while they wait for their order.

Customers can chow down on peanuts while they wait for their orders at Five Guys Burgers and Fries in Farmington.

Martinez said the restaurant will soon offer "Community Nights" to raise funds for local groups like high school sports teams and bands.

"Groups can come in and sign up, and if customers come in on that day and mention the group, we’ll donate 20 percent of our net sales for that day to the group," he said. "It’s a way we can give back."

Liz Muñoz, the restaurant’s general manager, recently relocated to Farmington from El Paso, Texas, to run the restaurant. Muñoz, who has worked for the chain for three and a half years, said the atmosphere is the most unique thing about the Five Guys.

"They treat employees like family and take care of you," she said. "Everyone works as a team, and we have very open communication."

In fact, communication is one of the essential qualities for Five Guys employees, Muñoz said, especially because the open kitchen doesn’t have display monitors listing orders. Employees communicate the old-fashioned way: by talking.

"That’s the whole open-kitchen concept: people work as a team and have fun working together," she said. "Nothing’s hidden, and customers can see the energy and the camaraderie in the kitchen."

Leigh Black Irvin is the business editor for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4621. 

More info

What: Five Guys Burgers and Fries restaurant

Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily

Where: 5000 E. Main St., Suite 2, Farmington

More info: Go to fiveguys.com.