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Five Guys, Trafford Centre, Reviewed

L'Oréal Blackett dives to the bottom of a paper bag in search of 'heaven'

Written by . Published on August 20th 2014.

Five Guys, Trafford Centre, Reviewed

AMERICAN FAST-FOOD franchises have done wonders for the British appetite, have they not?  

Imposing burger/chicken/pizza/sub joints have turned us Brits into wide-eyed gluttons and done everything but supersize a crumpet, serve it with pepperoni and stuff it in a paper bag.

Much like red drink cups at a fraternity house party, it seems we’ve eagerly embraced Five Guys just for the cute Americanisms we’ve spotted in the movies...

Many wouldn’t have it any other way. Without the continued proliferation of American gorge-fest food we wouldn’t have the likes of Almost Famous, Reds True BBQ, Solita or everyone's favourite, pulled pork.

Dsc_0313Five Guys, Trafford Centre

Manchester restaurants have been dressing up the burger like it’s Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman and forcing us to consider it a gourmet eat - even high-end hotel group Malmaison does a 'MAL burger'.

Still, you can take a burger out of a fast-food joint, but you can’t take the fast-food out of the burger. Or something like that...

Dsc_0303The burger's at home at Five guys

Five Guys, started by a Virginian guy and his four sons in 1986, has become a favourite across the US, and now has over 1,000 restaurants across Northern America. The Washington Post declared the guys the 'Willie Wonkas of Burgercraft'.

    The UK wanted some of the action.

    In 2013 the Covent Garden Five Guys opened to great reviews, “It’s heaven in a brown paper bag,” beamed The Londoner. So naturally Manchester eventually got some of the action too and another outlet opened within Trafford Centre's marble fortress earlier this year.

    It stands out like a sore thumb.

    'Five Guys' is brandished across bright red and white canopies in big bold capital letters. Mixed with the Trafford Centre’s garish approach to decor (palm trees anyone?), it’s all incredibly loud. Why are they shouting at us?

    Trafford Centre And Five GuysTrafford Centre and Five Guys

    The Five Guys serving philosophy is what you’d expect from any American fast-food brand. Happy to help, smiley servers dressed in the archetypal serving caps and t-shirts. You can see into the kitchen where there’s a solid conveyor belt serving system: one server prepares the buns, another adds the burger and the dressing and one poor guy at the end just stuffs them into bags.

    There’s only four burgers to choose from here: hamburger, cheeseburger, bacon burger and a bacon cheeseburger. They do hot dogs too: hot dog, cheese dog, bacon dog and bacon cheese dog (there's a theme here somewhere). There's also a veggie option but it’s hardly a riveting menu. We’re used to elaborate burgers these days.

    Dsc_0296Open wide

    I chose the bacon cheeseburger with the option of having ‘all the way’ toppings at no extra charge (a nice touch): grilled mushrooms, onions, ketchup, mayo, relish, pickles. The aim is seemingly to eat your way to a heart attack.

    Served on a seeded bun it looked the part. Big, beefy and spilling over with cheese and all the other toppings, it fit the bill as a certifiable American classic.

    The well-done burger slathered in the melted cheese was tender and tore away with ease. While I’ve become accustomed to McDonald’s poor and stale excuse for a bun, Five Guys’ was a soft and fluffy number. The none-too-salty fries were moreish and it was clear they had been cut from freshly picked potatoes.


    Scoffed. Bacon cheeseburger with all the toppings (£8.75)

    The burger was good, but I didn’t understand where all the hype and excitement had come from. Sure, it’s far tastier than a Big Mac but it’s not leaps and bounds ahead of Burger King’s options.

    Much like red drinks cups at a fraternity house party, it seems we’ve embraced Five Guys only for the cute Americanisms we’ve spotted in the movies - the tinfoil wrapped burgers and the brown greasy paper bag.

    By fast-food standards it’s expensive too.

    My burger cost £8.75 and my ears pricked to the sound of grumbles from other customers about the price.

    By treating three of my family members to a burger each (hamburger £6.75, cheeseburger £8.00 and one smaller sized burger for my younger sister £5.50), a large portion fries (£5.00) and four refillable fizzy drinks (£2.50), the total came to around £40.

    Dsc_0307Filling up on fizzy pop

    Five Guys is a solid addition to the Trafford Centre’s food court, but could do even better in the city centre where burgers are still having a moment. Competition though, is fierce.

    But I’m all burgered out. Give me salad. Give me fresh fish. Give me something that won't bring on type 2 diabetes, please.

    Follow @LOreal_B on Twitter

    Five Guys, Orient Food Court, Trafford Centre, M17 8AA.

    Rating: 12/20 (see below).

    Food: 6/10 - Good, limited options and expensive
    Service: 4/5 - Cheerful
    Ambience: 2/5  - Garish and loud

    PLEASE NOTE: Venues are rated against the best examples of their kind: fine dining against the best fine dining, cafes against the best cafes. Following on from this the scores represent: 1-5 saw your leg off and eat it, 6-9 get a DVD, 10-11 if you must, 12-13 if you’re passing,14-15 worth a trip,16-17 very good, 17-18 exceptional, 19 pure quality, 20 perfect. More than 20, we get carried away.

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    43 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

    AnonymousAugust 20th 2014.

    Thought Five Guys was average at best. And very pricey for what it is. I am still waiting for the day the daddy of all burger joints, Shake Shack, annouces it is opening up in Manchester. That will be a happy day indeed.

    1 Response: Reply To This...
    Richard AthertonAugust 21st 2014.

    Shake Shack is by far the best I've experienced, but with current UK high end fast food pricing I reckon it would come in around £50m for two! Let's leave it in the States and enjoy when in Yank land.

    AnonymousAugust 20th 2014.

    Never really thought Five Guys was the best of the US burger chains. The burgers are slightly above-average, nothing more. At the prices they charge, for what is fast food, it's pretty poor value.

    AnonymousAugust 20th 2014.

    not seeing the benefit of either photo showing someone eating/drinking...

    mancadamAugust 20th 2014.

    great, more junkfood masquerading as an actual proper meal, and priced as such. if there's anything we've learned about this food fad, it's that the general public really are as stupid as they seem.

    2 Responses: Reply To This...
    AnonymousAugust 20th 2014.

    Fad? Didn't this start the best part of 70 years ago?

    mancadamAugust 20th 2014.

    whacking some pork and bbq sauce on top of a burger, calling it "filthy" then slapping a £10 price on it didn't start 70 years ago.

    AnonymousAugust 20th 2014.

    Is it part of an agreement that everyone who writes about the Trafford Centre on here has to have a dig at the décor and suggest everything there would be better in the city centre? We all know what it looks like, we all know it's free parking, we know it's warm and dry, you don't have to mention it. Just like you don't mention the city centre can be chewing gum encrusted, pee and puke splattered, pigeon infested with bible bashing lunatics and blatant drug dealing in full view whilst being freezing cold and wet with every review you do for businesses based there.

    4 Responses: Reply To This...
    AnonymousAugust 20th 2014.

    You must really enjoy life.

    AnonymousAugust 20th 2014.

    I do. Thank you.

    AnonymousAugust 20th 2014.

    I don't think you do - GideonAmos

    AnonymousAugust 20th 2014.

    Well I, random passing stranger, think he does! So there!

    AnonymousAugust 20th 2014.

    They're not good value in the US either.

    Al. Amazing fries ace bespoke fresh burgers!August 20th 2014.

    Its awesome!!

    JDAugust 20th 2014.

    I first visited Five Guys in London, a few months before they opened up in Manchester. They cue round the block in London to get in and many have said they serve the best burger in London. I loved it and agree that they serve amazing burgers, probably the nicest burgers i've ever eaten. The Manchester opening is no different, it is amazing. In recent years in Manchester, we've been battered with overcomplicated, messy, vile burger offerings (Beef and Pudding's Beetham Tower burger is one example!). The menu at Five Guys is simple and they serve up burgers as you like them! As for the price, it is expensive, but it's worth the price! Five Guys Trafford is worth a visit just to use the awesome Coca-Cola drinks dispenser, which is touch screen and has more than 150 flavours of drinks! You'd have to be stupid to not pay it a visit! Hopefully another Five Guys will spring up in the centre soon!

    7 Responses: Reply To This...
    AnonymousAugust 20th 2014.

    'You'd have to be stupid to not pay it a visit!' Thanks for that Mr Five Guys. You can call me stupid.

    AnonymousAugust 20th 2014.

    £40? HAHAHA...It's fast food FFS!!! SUCKERRRRRSSSSSS!

    AnonymousAugust 20th 2014.

    Do they not teach PR operatives the benefits of subtlety these days?

    Simon TurnerAugust 21st 2014.

    ...or spelling "cue"?

    Jason TaylorAugust 21st 2014.

    So what you're saying is I should avoid Five Guys?

    Matt BradyAugust 21st 2014.

    I'm stupidus! Went to give it a go, saw the price and gave it a miss. Couldn't see what was different between it and McDs that could warrant the ramp up in the price. Their cost base must be virtually the same.

    Daniel CoultasAugust 21st 2014.

    Oh dear, at least make an effort to cover your tracks mr Five Guys employee of the month!

    JDAugust 20th 2014.

    If you don't like the price, go to McDonalds. Not too far away.

    7 Responses: Reply To This...
    JDAugust 20th 2014.

    In response to Mr Anonymous - my bad

    AnonymousAugust 21st 2014.

    Or we could go to AF, where you can get 2 (massive) excellent burgers, enough fries for 2 people and 2 beers/ciders for around £30. I know it gets a lot of stick around here but the burgers are really good.

    AnonymousAugust 21st 2014.

    Couldn't log in to my name.

    AnonymousAugust 21st 2014.

    Alright brown nose we all know you work for 5Guys, get over it! Not a fan of ALmost Famous but I'd prefer there to this place - went past it in the TC the other week, looked pretty empty with the rest of the food court taking good customer sales. It wont last long, too pricey for what is

    AnonymousAugust 21st 2014.

    £30 on fried food and two beers? FFS!!! The Southerners are really taking the p**s out of Manchester.

    Karl WheatAugust 22nd 2014.

    How much would you consider reasonable, anon? For me, £11 for a nice tasting and substantial meal (plus approx £4 for the drink) is very reasonable. The drink could be cheaper, but it's not a big deal.

    AnonymousAugust 22nd 2014.

    It's minced beef and some fried potato, Karl. Where's the value in that?

    AnonymousAugust 21st 2014.

    What the review has missed is the quality and portion of the fries and the amazing choice of fizzy drinks. Burgers are very good - comparison to burger king, dont be so stupid. Accept it is a bit pricy but isnt everything nowerdays, and in comparison to mcdonalds then its fair enough.

    1 Response: Reply To This...
    AnonymousAugust 21st 2014.

    A machine with 496 different flavours of Coke/Powerade/Sprite etc. It's cool on first glance, but not exactly the strongest selling point for a food place really, is it?

    AnonymousAugust 21st 2014.

    I have no problem spending a decent amount of money on food, so long as it's worth it. What I have issue with is the fact that Five Guys isn't all that great, and even compared to a branch in Manhattan, the same food here is nearly 50% more expensive.

    JohnboyAugust 21st 2014.

    Agree with the reviewer - what about other healthier choices? Looking at all the American burger type joints Mancon has reviewed lately I counted at least 18-20 eateries or chain "outlets" (excluding BK and McDs!!) - how many more such eateries can M/C sustain? These places are really good at "upselling" from a simple burger with all the add ons to an average £40 spend per two - someone has to pay for all the expensive "funky Americana shopfitting and staff after all!! Also - can burger joint PRs please resist commenting when their establishment gets a pasting from ordinairy punters like me - its getting tedious and make you al look stupid!! Roll on some new alternatives to the humble burger (no pun intended!) All burgered out!!!! Johnboy

    MGSAugust 21st 2014.

    Am i the only person who thinks "one cup" whenever i hear the name of this place?

    1 Response: Reply To This...
    AnonymousAugust 21st 2014.

    "5 jars"

    AnonymousAugust 21st 2014.

    Why does every article at the moment cause multiple people to grumble about things being too expensive? It costs what it costs. Mancon give cheap eat places plenty of coverage. If you can't afford FiveGuys don't go.

    4 Responses: Reply To This...
    MGSAugust 21st 2014.

    Cameron's Britain mate

    AnonymousAugust 21st 2014.

    They're exercising their right of comment, just as you are. I can afford to go there (and have done so) and I thought it was poor value. The fact it 'costs what it costs', as you put it, doesn't mean it isn't expensive.

    MGSAugust 21st 2014.

    Blair's Britain

    AnonymousAugust 21st 2014.

    I can afford to go there, like many places reviewed on Mancon, but I choose not to go because to me they're not offering value, just style over content.

    AnonymousAugust 21st 2014.

    Guess so!

    Dan FisherAugust 22nd 2014.

    It's like a bigger burger king. Anti prime in my opinion.

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