Good news, burger fans. Sydney's western suburbs will soon be home to the latest American burger chain to open on local soil, with fast-food giant Five Guys set to launch its first Australian outlet in Penrith this year.
Originally slated to open in the CBD, the new outlet will take over a free-standing 500-square-metre site next to Panthers entertainment and dining hub, joining a busy strip of fast-food outlets on Mulgoa Road.
Building is expected to start within weeks, with the venue scheduled to open mid-year.
The fast-growing restaurant chain is known for fresh ingredients, generous made-to-order burgers and creative shakes.
"The lettuce is hand-shredded, the potatoes are cut by hand, the patties are ... hand rolled," says Five Guys brand operations manager, Robby Andronikos.
"All products are cooked to order, [there are] no freezers in the joint."
The company switched to a suburban-led strategy amid the pandemic, following six months of research into the region's economic potential.
"[Penrith] is a major hub for the western suburbs of Sydney," says Andronikos.
"The local area has higher-than-average population growth annually across the last decade, with infrastructure investment such as a new airport being built to cater to this growth.
"This exciting new restaurant will bring with it fantastic job opportunities ... for experienced restaurant managers and leaders, as well as high-energy hospitality individuals looking to start a career with an expanding business."
Seagrass Boutique Hospitality – the group behind venues 6 Head, Ribs & Burgers and The Butcher and the Farmer – has picked up the local master franchise for the brand.
The Penrith agreement, between Seagrass and Panthers Group, is expected to be the first of many across Australia.
The search for a CBD is still under way, with several premium sites near Circular Quay, Darling Harbour and Broadway under consideration.
A Seagrass spokeswoman confirmed the company plans to open a total of 20 sites across Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
The brand also hopes to launch in New Zealand following its Australian expansion.