Five Guys Essay

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Five Guys: An Honest Business Built on Simplicity Reyna Haynes-Smith Professor Barry Adkins Contemporary Business BUS 508 October 19, 2012

Food. It’s a major topic of discussion today. What’s healthy, what’s not. What’s filling, what’s worth the money. There are many factors that contribute to the reason consumers choose one business over another. Most choose fast food options because they don’t have the time for a sit down meal. Time is short and many want a meal that is filling but also want something healthy. Enter Five Guys Burgers and Fries. Five Guys was founded in 1986 by Jerry and Janie Murrell in Washington DC. They wanted to give their sons the opportunity to either build a business or go to college. The business route won and the family opened a carry out burger joint in Alexandria, VA. Their premise was to concentrate on the quality of their product and the satisfaction of their customer. From that a simple yet beneficial business was born. The “Keep it simple” mindset has brought Five Guys tremendous success. “Now, over 20 years after Five Guys first opened, there are over 1,000 locations nationwide and over 1500 units in development. Five Guys continues to receive media attention and has grown a cult-like following around the world”. Five Guys took many years to perfect their business practices. Many of their practices differed from those of other businesses that also offered similar menu items but Five Guys didn’t consider them competition. They wanted to create something that they believed highly in. They didn’t waste time on fancy items but wanted to focus on perfecting the few menu items that were offered. All of their menu items were fresh, never frozen. Their burgers are made of 80% lean meat and all burgers are made to order, never pre-cooked. Their fries are made from potatoes grown in N. Idaho where they grow slowly but guarantee a solid and tasty result. California and Florida grown potatoes were options where the potatoes grow faster and are cheaper but that was not an option. Their potatoes are soaked in water and pre-fried to seal them and then fried a 2nd time, which ensures that they are never greasy. Cutting corners does not give the customer quality products and their 1st priority is always the customer. Their potatoes are soaked in water and pre-fried to seal in moisture and they are fried a second time to ensure they are crisp and never greasy. These simple business practices aid in giving the customer the best product for their money. There were 3 factors that contributed to the success of Five Guys Burgers and Fries in such a short period of time. They focused on the quality of their product, they understood what makes a loyal customer, and they were able to provide an easy to understand menu. I believe there were other factors as well. Jerry Murrell refused to spend money on the decorations of his locations. He wanted the food to be the focus and speak for itself. Decoration in any Five Guys store is the same, red and white tile on the walls and bags of potatoes lined up in the front of the store. Not only did he not believe in spending money on décor, he wouldn’t spend it on advertising either. He believed that “their salesman is their customer. If they’re treated right, they’ll walk out the door and sell for you”. There are other “better burger” chains that are growing fast as well, including Smashburger, “which had 100 stores as of July 2011 but is expanding in markets including Miami and Los Angeles”(Magee, 2011). Chipotle Mexican Grill is “growing quickly for the same reasons the “better burger chains are thriving. Most people are choosing healthier food options and fresh ingredients and can get this quickly. Once owned by McDonalds, but went off on its own years ago, Chipotle, based in Denver, Colorado, develops and operates fast, casual, fresh, Mexican