“Auntie Five Fries” cheerfully distributed menus to a long line of teenagers waiting to get a taste of the new burger joint at theTuesday afternoon.
“I just got the nick name today. I like it,” said Five Guys employee Betsy Ryan with a grin, proud of her new Auntie Five Fries moniker.
“I am not going to sit around and do nothing,” said 63-year-old Ryan, a former Wallkill Middle School French teacher who took an early retirement before she was let go due to budget cuts. “I love working here. We are like a family."
Ryan, like many other employees, were happy to find a job at Five Guys. And on the Jan. 10 opening day, customers were just as happy to finally get a taste of the well-reputed burgers they have been anticipating for about a year. The chain restaurant was supposed to open about six months ago, but construction problems delayed the opening.
“I love it,” said Frankie Campo, a 17-year-old Yorktown High School student. His 16-year-old sister Marissa agreed. “It is so juicy,” Marissa said. “Yea, and so good for a cheap burger,” her brother added.
The Campos enjoyed their food amongst many of their peers and a mix of an older working lunchtime crowd around 2 p.m. Tuesday. The place was buzzing with about 25 employees running a burger making, French fry scooping assembly line behind the counter. Smiling customers examined the menus while they waited in a long but fast-moving line. At some points during the day the line stretched down the sidewalk.
While customers enjoy the made-to-order element of the franchise's offerings, it is not particularly healthier than other fast-food joints and costs about the same amount. Burgers cost $4.99 and are about 700 calories; cheeseburgers are $5.89 and 840 calories. A regular fries can feed two, cost $3.19 and are 620 calories.
The franchise is one of the fastest growing in the country, known for its 50s style décor and, as mentioned above, made-to-order burgers and fries. Fries are cooked in peanut oil and the potatoes are Idaho Select and cut in house, explained Director of Operations Randy Warren. There were about 350 locations around the country a few years ago and today there are 957, the Cortlandt location being the 957th.
“I have been waiting a while for this,” said Gyse Sorrell, a 20-year-old Peekskill resident who said she had been looking for a job for a while before finding Five Guys. “It is fun working here,” she said.
While the place had about 25 employees working opening day, Warren said that usually there will be anywhere from around 6 to 13, depending on sales volume. The location has hired a total of about 60 workers, according to Don Bleau, the Fresh Management President who owns the franchises in Westchester, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Staten Island and Middlesex, New Jersey.
Warren and Bleau are glad to provide full-time work for local residents.
“It has been a delight to provide opportunities for people who are out of work,” said Bleau. He also said he felt the community was very welcoming.
“People have been so cordial here, exceptionally nice,” Bleau said.“I thought I was in Minnesota the people are so nice.”
There are eight Five Guys in Bleau’s territory and three in Westchester. White Plains’ Five Guys opened last year. To view Cortlandt’s Five Guys’ hours and menu, check out their listing .
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