Five Guys Burgers and Fries opened about 200 new locations in 2011, and the Lorton, Va.-based chain plans to open about 200 more in 2012.
That’s great news for Rick Miles Produce Service. The Rigby, Idaho, broker and distributor is the sole supplier of potatoes and onions for the rapidly expanding chain.
Owner Rick Miles said he expects to ship about 3.5 million 50-pound potato bags to Five Guys’ more than 900 locations in 46 states and six Canadian provinces this year.
“Their plans are very aggressive for the future,” Miles said, “and everything seems to be going very well. We’ve just grown with them.”
Miles has been supplying Five Guys since the chain had five locations back in 2002, and Five Guys now represents 99% of his business.
His company is in the process of building a new office and 10,000-square-foot warehouse in Idaho Falls to help product move more smoothly from the 10 potato grower-shippers he works with to satisfy Five Guys’ growing volume of spuds.
“It’s getting difficult for our shippers to have enough floor space,” he said.
“We have orders Thursday, Friday and Saturday for the following week. They have to start building them on Monday and Tuesday. By the time we get to Wednesday or Thursday, we’re out of floor space in the warehouses.”
The new cross-docking facility, which also will handle onions, will have a test kitchen so product quality can be checked before it is sent to Five Guys restaurants.
Miles, who had been renting office space, said he hopes to move into his new office in May, and the warehouse should be ready in July.
While many burger chains use frozen french fries, Five Guys uses fresh potatoes and often uses stacks of 50-pound bags as decorations in its locations.
“We feel that fresh potato gives you a french fry that tastes the most like an actual potato,” said Five Guys spokeswoman Molly Catalano.