U.S. fast-food chain Five Guys has impressed on its Korean debut with its Seoul store ranking among its top four global locations during its first week.
FG Korea, a subsidiary of Hanwha Galleria responsible for operating the U.S. burger brand in Korea, reported Tuesday that its first Korean store sold 15,000 burgers in its first week of operations. The store’s average daily sales exceeded 2,000 burgers, with a peak rate of 200 burgers per hour.
Globally, the Five Guys location in Gangnam District, southern Seoul, ranked fourth globally in terms of sales during its first week from June 26 through July 2, trailing behind Paris, London, and Dubai, FG Korea said. In addition, it achieved the highest sales among all new branch openings in the Asia-Pacific region during its first week of operation.
On the opening day on June 26, the store attracted more than 700 people despite unfavorable weather conditions with rain falling for long periods. The brand drew customers not only from various regions across Korea but also from overseas, including Japan, where Five Guys currently has no presence. The first customer to place an order at the store had been waiting in line from 11 p.m. the previous day, according to the company.
The popularity of premium burgers from global chains like Five Guys can be attributed to the enthusiasm of Korean consumers for novelty and trends.
“Korean consumers have a penchant for being early adopters and seeking out new experiences,” said Lee Eun-hee, a consumer science professor at Inha University.
“With Korea’s internet-savvy culture, they place significant value on being the first to share their experiences on social media. As a result, even though Five Guys is common in the United States, its debut in Korea as a newcomer created a sense of excitement, drawing a large number of customers during the initial opening phase.
“Considering the recent trend of Korean consumers embracing Western influences in their taste preferences, it is anticipated that the demand for the premium burger market will continue to grow,” Prof. Lee added.
Originating in the United States in 1986, Five Guys operates over 1,800 stores across 23 countries, with Korea becoming its sixth Asian country.
While many burger brands strive to enter the Korean market, success is not always guaranteed.
Good Stuff Eatery, recognized in Korea as a burger joint often visited by former U.S. President Barack Obama, opened a store near Sinnonhyeon Station in October last year with high expectations. However, faced with fierce competition from rivals like Shake Shack and Super Duper, it had to shut down within six months.
Similarly, Johnny Rockets, an American burger franchise introduced by Shinsegae Food in 2011, made an exit from the domestic market last year due to shifting local dining preferences and the detrimental impact of Covid-19.
BY SEO JI-EUN [email@example.com]