Contemporary Business, BUS508
April 28, 2013
In this paper we will review how Five Guys Burgers and Fries philosophy sets it apart from its competitors, analyze their values, discuss factors that have contributed to success, and ethical/social practice that are part of Five Guys’ culture.
Entrepreneurial Leadership: Five Guys Burgers and Fries
Five Guys Burgers and Fries creator Jerry Murrell had a vision when it was time to send his first two sons off to college. Murrell, and his wife Janie, gave the boys two options, go to college or start a restaurant the family will run. The boys chose the restaurant. Five Guys was originally named for Jerry and his four sons, upon the birth of his fifth son, the company name stayed but now references his sons.
Five Guys Burgers and Fries practices a simply stated mission that is followed up with a simply stated menu. The first statement in the mission of the company is “we are in the business of selling burgers” (Richtman). This has been the basis for their restaurants since day one and continues into over 1000 company owned and franchised locations (Burke, 2012). With a philosophy focused on two main points, the food and the people, Five Guys’ opened their doors in 1986 in Arlington, VA. Focusing on fresh and delicious food has been apparent since the beginning and is still ostensible to any patron in the present day. There are no freezers in any location, buns are made in one of the companies ten bakeries and delivered daily (Frumkin, 2010), and fries are made from Idaho potatoes that are cut fresh every day in each location (Welch, 2010). Pairing quality food with the extension of the mission statement, “you the customer are the most important visitor on our premises”, (Richtman) Five Guys have been operating by Murrell’s standards and vision for almost 30 years. This customer driven, high quality food philosophy separates Five Guys from many burger business competitors. Sticking to what Five Guys knows, burgers and fries, has enabled them to succeed in their market. “Most fast-food restaurants serve dehydrated frozen fries”, (Murrell told to Welch, 2010) whereas we know Five Guys does not have freezers in their locations resulting in freshly fried fries for their patrons.
When a Five Guys customer wants a burger and fries, they know exactly where to go. And while they are there, they can order a burger one of 250,00 different ways (www.FiveGuys.com, 2013). These original startup values are still the driving force for the companies’ success; family operated, quality food, customer focus. To this day the five sons, mom and dad meet weekly, in a sound proof meeting room, to discuss, debate and make wise company decisions. According to the company website they testify to fighting, hence the sound proof room, but what family and company doesn’t have disagreements (Burke, 2012). These values have helped the company grow from one unit in 1986 to seven in 2002 (Melnick, 2011). The family decision to franchise has boosted growth to 1,039 locations and selling out their franchise rights in the United States (Burke, 2012). Franchising was a huge step for the company. They wanted to ensure franchisees had the same drive that the family did to keep it simple. The typical Five Guys franchisee has 10 – 15 stores (Burke, 2012) and are trained for 30 days in the headquarter location in Lorton, VA (Frumkin, 2010). These franchisees meet with Murrell and review the company values, strategies and overall goals.
Five Guys believes in “secret marketing”, they pay two, third party vendors to rate their stores. One vendor secretly dines at all locations, then based on those experiences, the crew working with the highest scores receive a bonus, anywhere from 6 – 8 people get to share right around $1,000 (Frumkin, 2010). These secret shops and bonuses are conducted on a weekly basis. The