SEOUL, June 22 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korea’s first Five Guys burger restaurant will open in Gangnam, southern Seoul, next week, its operator said Thursday.
The two-story store with about 150 seats will open in the bustling commercial district near Gangnam Station at 11:00 a.m. Monday, according to FG Korea Inc., a food arm of Hanwha Galleria Corp.
“I fell in love with Five Guys after eating one of its hamburgers when I was studying abroad. I felt it has the clearest philosophy for their products and exceptional quality compared with other dining brands,” Kim Dong-seon, the head of Hanwha Galleria’s strategic management division, said of his decision to bring Five Guys to South Korea.
Iain Ross-Mackenzie, the vice president of operations at Five Guys International, said it feels like the company is “actually finally global” with the opening of the Seoul store.
Five Guys — established in 1986 as a Virginia-based family business and famous for large quantities of french fries and free peanuts — opened its first store outside North America in 2013 in London and first store in Asia in 2018 in Hong Kong.
South Korea is the sixth Asian country and the 24th country in the world, aside from the U.S., to have a Five Guys store.
Kim said it took two years after his first meeting with Five Guys to open the Seoul store because it took a long time to find locally farmed potatoes that meet the Five Guys’ standard.
“We only use select ingredients that meet the brand’s quality standards, and to keep the freshness of the ingredients, we don’t have a freezer, microwave or timer in the restaurant,” FG Korea CEO Oh Min-woo said.
Regarding the higher price compared with other local and imported burger brands here, Oh said the food quality will be enough to satisfy the customers.
The price at the Seoul store is about 13 percent lower than in the U.S. and 17 percent lower than in Hong Kong, Oh noted.
An order of a burger, fries and a drink will cost at least 20,000 won (US$15.46), according to the menu provided by the operator.
Meanwhile, the operator said it plans to open more than 15 Five Guys stores in South Korea in the next five years.