Travel & Hospitality Five Guys to expand in the UAE By Andy Sambidge September 29, 2022 Supplied Five Guys at Nakheel Mall, Dubai: the menu is halal across UAE outlets US fast food chain has 12 outlets across Dubai and Abu Dhabi Opening stores Sharjah and Al Ain Expanding cloud kitchens following demand during pandemic Fast food chain Five Guys is gearing up to make its debut in Sharjah and Al Ain as it looks to build on its network of outlets across the UAE. The US burger brand is also planning to develop its cloud kitchen network which began in the UAE at the height of the coronavirus pandemic. Sudhin Siva, vice president – commercial operations, Shamal Holding, said franchise operator Rise, a unit of Shamal Holding, has opened 12 outlets over the past seven years including three in the first quarter of 2022. Fast food operator Americana appoints HSBC to advise on IPO Healthy fast food startups aim to tackle growing GCC obesityThe sky’s the limit for cloud kitchens in the Gulf “Having launched in 2015, we have grown rapidly, thanks to the communities here who love our brand,” Siva told AGBI. “We have launched three stores this year, with a fourth soon launching in Sharjah that will also mark our first foray into the emirate. “Currently, we have 12 stores across Dubai and Abu Dhabi, with plans to further expand in Al Ain as well.” He added: “We aim to keep exploring new locations – be it through physical outlets or delivery-only operations.” Sudhin Siva, vice president – commercial operations, Shamal Holding, is rolling out Five Guys UAE franchises Five Guys is looking to develop its cloud kitchen space, after launching a delivery- only outlet for the UAE operation during the pandemic. A cloud kitchen – also known as a “ghost kitchen” or “virtual kitchen” – is a commercial kitchen space that provides food businesses the facilities and services needed to prepare menu items for delivery and takeout. Unlike traditional bricks-and-mortar locations, cloud kitchens allow food businesses to create and deliver food products with minimal overhead. “Five Guys saw the scope for a great opportunity to get closer to our customers by adapting to new delivery models,” said Siva. “We opened our first cloud kitchen in July 2019, which helped ease the impact on our operations, as well as ensure we had our customers served well throughout the UAE. “Cloud kitchen operations are going to help accelerate business for F&B players and also offer 100 percent flexibility – be it for entrepreneurs or customers. “They touch on one of the most key business aspects: reaching consumers wherever they are.” The name Five Guys originally referred to Jerry Murrell and his four sons Jim, Matt, Chad and Ben. A sixth guy – Jerry and Janie Murrell’s fifth son, Tyler, was born two years after the restaurant opened. The first Five Guys restaurant opened in 1986 in Arlington County, Virginia, US. There are over 1,700 locations worldwide and another 1,500 in development across the US, Canada, UK, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. “We believe consistency and word of mouth are huge contributors to our journey and we are extremely grateful for that,” Siva said. One of its busiest branches globally is the one located in Dubai Mall. “The volumes we see at our Dubai Mall store are sometimes unprecedented, particularly as we get close to New Year’s Eve,” Siva added. “The branch is where we train our future leaders, giving them exposure to the industry at one of the city’s most iconic locations. “Every dish on our menu is 100 percent halal across all our outlets in the UAE. We respect our consumer’s tastes and preferences.” The UAE’s fast food service sector is expected to grow at 5.8 percent per year to $4.51 billion in 2022, up from $3.66 billion in 2018, according to a report by Statista.com, a digital market intelligence provider.