Five Guys Burgers and Fries a Fast Food Success Story

The original “Five Guys” consisted of Jerry Murrell and his four sons in 1986 when the first Five Guys Burger and Fries store opened.  Jerry and his wife had a fifth son in 1988, and he is now the “Fifth Guy” as all five on the sons are still in the business.

The first location opened in Virginia at the Westmont shopping centre, and no longer exists.  Five Guys was an overnight success – people loved the fresh ingredients.  Every hamburger bun was made by hand until 2001 by Brenner’s Bakery, which was located in the same mall at the time Five Guys opened. 

The Morrell family decided to franchise in 2002, as they were kept quite busy running 6 stores in Virginia.  There are currently more than 625 Five Guys locations in 40 states and 5 Canadian provinces.

How did a family-run business become an international success so quickly?

Five Guys Burgers and Fries takes pride in using only fresh ingredients for their burgers.  According to the Five Guys website, only fresh ground beef is used, and you will never find a freezer in a Five Guys locations because nothing is ever frozen.  Fresh toppings for the burgers include: American cheese, bacon, (one topping or the other is free, both are an additional charge) mayo, mustard, ketchup, relish, onion, lettuce, pickle, tomato, green pepper, jalapeño, grilled onion, and grilled mushrooms (all free.)  Sauces available include hot sauce, barbeque sauce, and A-1.

The Five Guys website boasts that there are over 250,000 ways to order a Five Guys burger, and that their fries are fryed in only 100% pure peanut oil.  This gives the fries a unique (and loved) taste.

Five Guys’ food has been criticized for being high in calories and fat.  This is most likely what makes the food taste so good and causes customers to be fiercely loyal to Five Guys when they want a burger.  No artificial chemical substitutes are used to lower the calorie counts, just fresh ingredients in large portions cooked the way fast food used to be cooked.  Five Guys tastes great, and they make no apologies for that.

Another factor behind Five Guys success is that when they first started franchising, former Washington Redskins kicker Mark Moseley was working for Fransmart, the company the Murrell’s first turned to when starting to franchise Five Guys.  His enthusiam for the chain, and, of course, his star power, was instrumental in selling franchises, and he stayed on as franchise director for Five Guys even after the Murrell’s and Fransmart went their separate ways.

Five Guys brought the “food” part of the equation back into “fast food” by realizing that quality shouldn’t be compromised, even in a fast-food restaurant.  Seeing how quickly that attitude earned them millions of fanatic followers, it seems the public agrees!