My buddy Alyssa tells a story about being in five guys prices in Boston. She’d just settled down with her food at her table when she overhead an over-served guy likely wearing a Shawn Thornton Bruins jersey speaking to himself as he inhaled a cheeseburger. “Ahhhh,” he sighed, contentedly, in between bites. “This is the right amount of guys.”
Once I started scripting this, friends, I had an extended, drawn-out story here. However when I heard that, I deleted everything. Because dammit if this Sam Adams-swilling street poet didn’t sum it up perfectly.
“If you can give a good haircut or if you can serve a good drink in a bar or if you can serve a great hamburger, you can always earn money in the usa.” — Five Guys founder Jerry Murrell’s mother
Where did Five Guys result from? In 1986, the 4 brothers Murrell opened a takeaway burger joint in Arlington, Virginia, simply a stone’s throw from DC, AKA Cap City. Because they started the place with their parents, that constituted “Five Guys,” and so that name came to be (and subsequently, a younger brother would be born 2 yrs later, offering them five actual guys as sons). The guidelines were simple: hand-formed, fresh-ground beef; fries cooked in peanut oil; no freezers. As each burger was developed to acquire, they introduced complimentary shelled peanuts as something to snack on as you waited.
The spot took off, therefore, over the next 20 years, they methodically opened four more in and around Cap City, then slowly begun to expand into lower Virginia and Maryland. Starting in 2003, they expanded nationwide. There are now over 1,500 Five Guys locations worldwide. According to their website “another 1,500 (are) in development.”
Competitor context. The clearest competitors to Five Guys are Shake Shack (around 200 total locations), Smashburger (370), Habit Burger (250), and Fat Burger (over 200). The concept of fast-food burger chains versus fast-casual is a scary topic to me. As an example, In-N-Out naturally suits this conversation (and contains 340 locations) as the burger is usually discussed (by me, no less, later), inside the national conversation of cult chain burgers along most of these joints, yet it is more fast food than fast casual (the actual existence of drive-thrus in many locations is definitely the differentiator for me). But this shit is hard to define, and giving me anxiety, so let’s just move ahead.
Precisely what is Five Guys attempting to do now? With this hyper-aggressive expansion plan, Five Guys is very clearly trying to exert their influence in the Great Burger Wars in the fast-casual era. And with nearly 4x the volume of restaurants as his or her next biggest rival, they’ve got an amazing jump start. Also, quite famously, they never advertised at all until about three years ago — which, if you believe about this, is kind of an easy method of advertising in itself amirite?!? And also then, their ad footprint was purposefully small, and really only on the internet and with social networking. They may be savvy Guys (and Girls).
How I did it: Throughout two weeks, I visited two Northern California Five Guys an overall total of 3 x. I ordered each item on the actual menu, plus one off-menu item, and ate a variety of peanuts for no reason as i was waiting.
A note on the peanuts: They’re fine? Shelling peanuts is much more concerning the process to me, which I found mildly relaxing. But in the long run, they’re still just peanuts, because the phrase “I bought it for peanuts” doesn’t suggest they’re a massive value-add, I’m not spending more time to them.
Five Stars/Guys Who Definitely Are Enjoyable To Become Around: Many moons ago, I reviewed just about any major chain cheeseburger. Much for the chagrin of my In-N-Out fanboy California family, I proclaimed Five Guys as obtaining the best. (Note: this was before Shake Shake began their intensive expansion, so they weren’t yet within the mix, and it also was actually a confusing time for your fhyxvv food vs fast-casual debate I mentioned earlier.) But after spending recent years eating 330 burgers from independent restaurants nationwide, I hadn’t been to https://www.storeholidayhours.org/five-guys-burgers-fries-holiday-hours-open-closed-today/.
But lo and behold, upon my revisits the burgers were again a minor revelation. Each time, I saw char on the meat, hand-formed patties that broke apart easily, a properly-griddled bun that didn’t get soggy, and the exclusive usage of American cheese, which is THE ONLY ACCEPTABLE CHEESE on burgers. They aren’t perfect (they tend to undercook the griddled onions, which doesn’t allow them to properly caramelize), however are definitely inside the In-N-Out,/Shake Shack pantheon of quality fast-casual burger chains that sit above all the other major players.
Essentially it’s simply a grilled cheese, however with an additional burger patty and grilled onions. The patty melt advantages from the truth that they flip more than a regular bun and double grill it as to what would normally be the inside of the bun because the outside, and two layers of cheese encasing the burger patty. The grilled onions within the mix definitely makes the entire thing a gooey, griddled delight. Honestly, I can’t recommend it enough. I ate the complete thing after I’d sampled two burgers, two hot dogs, two other sandwiches, two orders of fries, and 2 milkshakes. I think my body created another stomach just to sate my needs.