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Five Guys reopens after remodel

by BRET ANNE SERBIN
Daily Inter Lake | February 14, 2021 12:00 AM

The Five Guys Burgers and Fries restaurant in Hutton Ranch Plaza looks a little different these days, but the popular burger fare hasn’t changed.

On Feb. 1, the burger chain reopened its North Kalispell restaurant and dining room after closing for a week to do renovations.

Originally opened in April 2009, the Kalispell location is the fourth-oldest Five Guys in the entire Western United States, according to Business Development Manager Mike Wood.

For General Manager Chaz Williamson, who has worked at the eatery since Day One, it was time for a “refresh.”

The Kalispell Five Guys is one of more than 1,000 Five Guys franchise locations around the world. The burger chain started in Washington, D.C., in the 1980s under the leadership of the five brothers from whom the restaurant gets its iconic name.

Wood and his relatives brought the burger joint to the Big Sky through Montana Burgers, the franchise that operates Five Guys locations throughout Montana and Washington state. They plan to add a new location in Great Falls in March or April.

With only a simple menu featuring classic American fare such as hamburgers and French fries, Five Guys seems to be a hit everywhere it goes. Kalispell has certainly been no exception. Both Wood and Williamson said the eatery has steadily grown in popularity over the past decade, prompting the need to renovate the building’s busy interior.

The pièce de résistance of the Five Guys remodel is the LED sign that’s been added on the north wall of the restaurant, illuminating the dining room and reminding diners they’re not enjoying just their average hamburger.

“It’s hard to miss that sign,” Wood pointed out.

The seating area inside Five Guys has also been brightened up with updated ceiling lights, new tables and a more spacious seating arrangement.

The ordering experience, too, has been totally reimagined by removing the bulky L-shaped barrier that shaped the line to the counters and lowering the counters to make them more handicapped-accessible for all patrons.

Wood and Williamson are confident everyone will appreciate the addition of two new Coca-Cola Freestyle beverage machines. The new-age drink dispensers — equipped with giant touchscreens and over 100 drink options — replace the two older models that were in place in the restaurant, which were the first of their kind in the state when they were initially installed.

DESPITE THE interior update and the state-of-the-art machinery, Five Guys retains much of the classic feel that has made the chain so popular. “There hasn’t been a lot that has changed at Five Guys,” Woods said.

The COVID-19 pandemic certainly brought a few changes to the restaurant, which experienced a dip in sales for about three weeks last spring. But since then, the Kalispell Five Guys has largely recovered, thanks to a combination of adjusted service and favorable positioning from the get-go.

They added delivery options through apps such as DoorDash as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, and now those orders account for about 20% of Five Guys’ local sales.

But eating on-site still remains popular at Five Guys, and the spacious dining room, with a capacity for 144 people, has helped the restaurant stay popular despite the circumstances.

“It’s been good for our business,” Wood said. “You hate to say that, but we were set up well because of our space.”

Therefore, Wood said Five Guys likely won’t add a drive-thru to the restaurant or open another Flathead Valley location, even though customers frequently ask about such expansion ideas. When you have a winning recipe like Five Guys’, there’s no need to change it up.

Five Guys is located at 2415 U.S. 93 N., Kalispell. Hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week.

Reporter Bret Anne Serbin may be reached at 758-4459 or bserbin@dailyinterlake.com.

photo

Brighter LED lights and new tables at the Five Guys in Kalispell on Thursday, Feb. 4. (Casey Kreider/Daily Inter Lake)