Entrepreneurial Leadership: Five Guys Burger & Fries

Entrepreneurial Leadership: Five Guys Burger & Fries Lisa Dunn Dr. Doris Martin BUS 505 Strayer University October 16, 2012 “We are in the business of selling burgers” – Jerry Murrell says as one of the mission statements for his company; Five Guys Burger & Fries. Five Guys has had the same business plan since Jerry and his sons opened the first burger shop in 1986. They only use fresh ingredients never frozen. There are no gimmicks to the Five Guys philosophy; just simple food with simple ingredients.

That’s how it worked while running one restaurant and that’s how it works with now over a thousand restaurants all over the U. S. and Canada (Smith, 2011, p. 2). The philosophy of Five Guys is simple: fresh ingredients never frozen. There are no freezers only coolers in their restaurants. They have no drive-thru window and do not deliver. This sets them apart from many other restaurants. They are not your typical burger joint. Everything is made on premises at each individual franchised location.

Most burger places are fast food, with a drive –thru window, and many options of their menu. However; Five Guys just wants to make burgers and fries. They keep a simple menu to ensure quality of food. They know they can make a great burger and are not interested in making a mediocre chicken sandwich just to put more on the menu. Five Guys also has simple advertising and decor, unlike their competitors that spend millions on fancy advertising. Jerry has said, “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 decor is so simple – red and white tiles. We don’t spend our money on decor. Or on guys in chicken suits. But we’ll go overboard on food (Joiner, 2012) Five Guys values remain unchanged from when then started the business back in 1986. Jerry has said “The only thing we did right was stick to our guns (Burke 2012). They started out as a simple burger place and have stayed a simple burger place just more of them. They thrive on customer loyalty and customer service. We are not doing you a favor by serving you – you are doing us a favor by giving us the opportunity to do so (Smith, 2011, p. 2)” Jerry has said about how customers are a part of his business. Having the same values from the beginning days to then franchising has helped this unique success story that is Five Guys to be the fastest growing restaurant chain (Rosenwald, 2006). Some of the factors that contributed to the success of Five Guys in such a short time frame are the employee motivation, the quality of food, and the overall value of the company.

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Five Guys says it is important to make employees feel a sense of ownership and accountability. The way they motivate their employees is that they employ secret shoppers and auditors to walk in and inspect the store. If the secret shopper or auditor gives a passing grade to that location there is a thousand dollar bonus for the employees to split evenly. It helps to maintain excellence in the food and the cleanliness of the store (York, 2009, p. 3). The great quality of food at Five Guys is based on its loyalty to suppliers. Five Guys buys the best fresh meat and real Idaho potatoes.

They could do cheaper products but it would not taste as good. This of course raises the price of the food, but customers have not complained about paying a few extra bucks for a better burger and fries (Smith, 2012). The overall value of the company has greatly contributed to the success of Five Guys. Once Five Guys started to franchise people thought that the value of the company and its product would decrease. That is not that case; the contracts that franchisers sign makes for the value to consistent and not change a good thing.

There are specific and extensive details of how to run and operate a Five Guys restaurant so people going to any of the thousand stores will get the same food that tastes the same (Rosenwald, 2006). These factors contribute to the short-time success that Five Guys has had. Being who they are and making a simple great tasting burger helps to market a company just by word of mouth. There had been a cookie cutter ways of running a business over the years that Five Guys just threw out the window and did their own thing at their own time.

Five Guys started small and stayed small for many years. They never wanted to franchise and be huge. Their ultimate goal was to make a great burger using great quality fresh ingredients. Five Guys does not do what other restaurants do. They do not advertise or market themselves, nor do they change anything just become social practices say they should. They have a very small list of items on their menu; consisting of burgers, fries, and hotdogs. Many have said that not adding milkshakes or salads would take business away and make people not come.

However, having simple items that you can make your own with different condiments makes people go to Five Guys rather than the other burger places (York, 2009). Being an individual that has been to different locations of Five Guys restaurants, it is easy to see that following ethical or social practices does work for how Five Guys runs its business. It is clear the minute that a person walks into a Five Guys establishment that you are welcome and greeted. Then choosing from the simple menu board above the cashier is easy and efficient.

Being able to watch a freshly made burger and fries come to life behind the counter makes the experience refreshing. It is great to see and know that food is made to order exactly how it was ordered. Looking around the establishment, noticing the real potato bags and peanut boxes and oil lets that person know that simple real foods go into making your lunch or dinner. When the food in ready there is no tray like many other restaurants, it comes in a brown bag that a person can take to go or sit down at a table and enjoy.

Knowing the quality and freshness that goes into each order lets the customer know just how important it is to be served at Five Guys. There doesn’t need to be a lot of marketing or different practices to make Five Guys stand out. Their food should do it, and as a customer it does. Five Guys has been around for many years, it is just in the past few years that once Jerry Murrell and his five sons began to franchise did the world take notice of a unique way to run a simple burger and fries restaurant.

Being able to set themselves apart from fast food restaurants and keeping their core values has made Five Guys popular. With the different factors contributed to the success of Five Guys and ignoring ethical and social practices, Five Guys were able to stay themselves and create a great burger that across the country can enjoy. As Jerry says “You are dependent on us, we are dependent on you. You are not an outsider in our business-you are part of it (Smith, 2011). ” Five Guys knows that success is in a great product and people to buy that product.

Keeping the company simple has worked for Jerry and his five guys. Resources: Burke, M. (2012). Five Guys Burgers: America’s Fastest Growing Restaurant Chain. Forbes. Retrieved on October 12, 2012. Joiner, L. (2012). Five Guys found a simple recipe for success: Do it right. USAToday. Retrieved on October 12, 2012. Rosenwald, M. (2006). Five Guys, Taking a Bigger Bite. The Washington Post. Retrieved on October, 19, 2012. Smith, R. (2011). The Runaway Hit. QSR Magazine. Retrieved on October 12, 2012. York, E. (2009). Five Guys: an America’s Hottest Brands Case Study. AdvertisingAge. Retrieved on October 12, 2012.

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