Five Guys will open a restaurant in Disney Village at Disneyland Paris in 2017, the “burgers and fries” chain has confirmed. The resort’s entertainment centre will become the first Disney property to host the rapidly expanding brand and one of only a handful of locations so far within France.
The news was broken first in an interview with Five Guys’ Maxime Lestringant on French site meltyStyle.fr, where the Head of Operations for France confirmed: “at the beginning of 2017 we will also open a Five Guys at Disney Village.”
“It will be another major restaurant for the brand. It will even be the first time that we will be opening a restaurant at Disney. We are not in partnership with Disney, but we believe that the meeting of the two brands will benefit and we can create a good story together.”
Following its first restaurant at Bercy Village, the company will soon be opening on the Champs-Elysées. Lestringant confirms the Disney Village location will open ahead of a further planned Gare du Nord venue.
— Five Guys France (@FiveGuysFrance) September 27, 2016
The location within Disney Village? Well, according to most sources, barely within Disney Village itself. Five Guys will be positioned next door to the already announced Vapiano casual Italian restaurant, in the former NEX Arcade space beneath the IMAX building on the edge of the entertainment centre’s current footprint.
As we discussed when Vapiano was confirmed, this may well mean that guests have to leave the resort’s current security checkpoint to access the restaurant, positioning it very much on the periphery of Disney Village, at least until further expansion takes place.
This area, immediately south east of the resort hub, should eventually see a second TGV and RER station entrance and a second bus station, not to mention a second entire avenue of retail and leisure units for Disney Village and a new Disney Hotel.
Five Guys has made a name for itself with “handcrafted” burgers and fries, in a back-to-basics style of classic American diner interior of gleaming white tiles and red pendant lights. The casual, more personal approach to branding and service perhaps seeks to retain the character of a modest start-up, belying the fact that this 1986 venture has since expanded to over 1,000 locations in the United States and Canada.
Wherever the chain opens internationally, it can be heralded by fans almost as if the town in question is receiving electricity or running water for the first time. At the same time, with each opening it often appears to have a similar number of detractors, citing its high prices for relatively basic cuisine and a lack of table service.
In the UK, restaurants are no longer just opened in trendier city districts but in some thoroughly mundane out-of-town leisure parks. Lestringant suggests a similar plan for France, to open 40 restaurants within 3 years.
For Disney Village? It’ll be an incredibly popular choice, no doubt. As it does elsewhere in the world, Five Guys will offer a more premium burger experience for those wanting more than a basic McDonald’s, and to bemoan such a prolific chain opening on heralded Disney property seems churlish so long as those golden arches remain.
Annette’s Diner will instead be the closest competition, but it’s safe to say the roller-skating table service waiters in that fully-themed 25-year old venue have little to worry about. With its peripheral location, Five Guys will also be at the furthest distance in a perfect “burger triangle” between the two other venues.
On its own, it would be disappointing to see Disney Village expand with such little culinary variety; next door to the more interesting Vapiano, it will hopefully be a good crowd-puller to stimulate some genuine, and more diverse, entertainment centre expansion along this potential boulevard in the future.
What does Disney Village really need? More unique, themed locations amongst these new incoming chains, certainly; a good “experience” bar or two, a proper pub, a true upscale restaurant, an ice cream cafe, a real bakery, a non-Starbucks coffee house, live music venues, a bowling alley, a Walt Disney Grand Theater and please, anything with a menu stretching beyond American, Italian or Tex-Mex. When you look at it like that, maybe Five Guys is the last thing it needs right now?
Meanwhile, despite being announced for “this summer“, it seems Vapiano won’t open now until late winter or even 2017 either. Which will you be eating at first?