July 21, 2013
Five Guys Burgers and Fries were started by the Murrell family in 1986 with the first restaurant opening in Arlington, Virginia (Five Guys, 2013). The Murrell brothers were instructed by their parents that they either go to college or start a business, and of course they took the business route (Five Guys, 2013). When Jerry Murrell’s boys neared the end of high school, Jerry gave them two options, go to college, or he could use their education money to start a restaurant (Burke, 2012). The idea was that the entire family would pitch in, this was Jerry’s attempt to keep his family together; his family wasn’t close as he would have liked (Burke, 2012). The name Five Guys came from Jerry, the father and his four sons, later Jerry and his wife had another child (a son) and the term Five Guys then fourth applied to his five sons (Burke, 2012).
Although the business began to grow Janie Murrell wife of Jerry was adamant about the menu staying the same, just burgers and fries, but good ones. The family simply continued to refine what they already did. (Burke, 2012). They tried different things but they were worried that they would not be successful at the new items, and that would take away from the outstanding burgers and fries. As their mission statement sums it up “We are in the business of selling burgers” (About.com). further expanded on in the goal of the company, which is “Five Guys goal is to sell the best quality burgers possible. To sell the best burger possible, we focus on quality, service, and cleanliness (About.com). Jerry believes that the demise of other fast food restaurants, such as Boston Market, comes from adding to many items to the menu and getting away from their core (Burke, 2012). Eventually a hot dog, a veggie sandwich, and a grilled cheese sandwich made it onto the menu (Burke, 2012)
The family values that surround the start-up of the business still remain strong today; they meet every Tuesday at the main office to discuss business. In 2002, the family had to make one of the biggest decisions they had ever faced with their family owned business, franchising. Jerry was initially against it, as he was not sure people would appreciate his restaurants concept. (Burke, 2012). Son Matt pushed the issue and even brought his father a copy of Franchising for Dummies, and after reading the book Jerry agreed. They hired former Washington Redskins kicker Mark Moseley to head up franchising (Burke, 2012). Jerry Murrell looks for a franchisee to have a net worth of at least 1.5 million dollars and liquidity of 500,000 dollars (Burke, 2012). . Franchisees pay an upfront fee of 20,000 dollars, then an additional 75,000 per store (Burke, 2012). They average franchisee has 10 to 15 restaurants, which costs 350,000 dollars to 500,000 to open and average 1.2 million in annual revenues (Burke, 2012). It takes most stores two and a half years to break even (Burke, 2012). There has not been many problems from franchises, most however keep pushing to add new items to the menu. Some feel that Five Guys is the only burger spot that does not serve milkshakes. Others have pushed for chicken, sandwiches and coffee, but Jerry Murrell always sticks to his guns (Burke, 2012).
What sets them apart from other fast-food restaurants that serve burgers is the fact that they use only fresh ground beef, that there patties are handmade and the fries are fresh cut. To accompany that, they only use peanut oil to cook their fries, which makes their menu trans-fat free. (Five Guys, 2013). They also stuck to exactly what they were good at, instead of trying to cook a bunch of products like most restaurants to do appeal to everyone; they took their time and perfected burgers and fries. Another way in which Five Guys is set apart from the rest of the fast-food restaurants is that the Murrell’s do not advertise, instead they focus solely on the food