Simple is Better
Five Guys' simplistic, but delicious food items created what some refer to as a cult-like following, despite the company's adherence to minimal advertising. Consumers have flocked to the burger chain, and franchisees can't seem to get stores open fast enough. Additionally, Five Guys continues to stomp the competition. A recent Business Insider story
revealed that Five Guys once again claimed the top spot in the latest annual Harris Poll EquiTrend survey's "Burger Brand of the Year" category, defending its title against 17 other famous burger chains including Carl's Jr., Burger King, Jack in the Box, DQ, McDonald's, White Castle, Sonic, Wendy's, Whataburger, Shake Shack, and In-N-Out Burger.
The interior of Five Guys restaurants are kept simple too featuring white tiling, checkered with five vertical rows of red tiles, each row representing one of the five sons of the chain's founder. The employee's uniforms are either plain red or white and red. Unlike many of the other fast food chains, there are only a few tables and chairs in Five Guys with potato sacks stacked in customer areas, giving a more wholesome, homely look to the restaurant. Five Guys restaurants also includes open kitchens enabling the customer to see their burgers being grilled to order and free, roast-shell peanuts for customers to eat while awaiting their order. Finally, rock music from the 60s and 70s are piped into the stores creating a nostalgic, but relaxing atmosphere.
Five Guys doesn't rely on flashy, national ads to get people into their stores. The company's advertising philosophy is to let the food talk for the company. In fact, Founder Jerry Murrell told Inc. Magazine
, "We figure our best salesman is our customer. Treat that person right, he'll walk out the door and sell for you. From the beginning, I wanted people to know that we put all our money into the food. That's why the décor is so simple. We don't spend our money on décor. Or on guys in chicken suits. But we'll go overboard on food." Takeaways
Lessons learned from following Five Guys' successful rise includes: giving customers what they want, (good burgers, pricey-but-worth-it buns, delicious fries), fast, friendly service, all while keeping things simple, (ordinary decor, word-of-mouth advertising, etc.). No razzle-dazzle, no giant chickens in costumes, no playing with the menu and adding a fat free caramel moco-loco latte. Just good burgers and fries. Of course, it doesn't hurt to have good investors to get the expansion and franchise operations going, but that all came after establishing a solid, simple business model as the foundation.