Five Guys: Great $5 Hamburger, Free Peanuts and a Perky Experience


Share on LinkedIn

I first heard about Five Guys a few months ago while watching a TV special about potatoes. That’s right, potatoes. Further proof I have no life. Turns out that the burger chain likes “northern potatoes” (mostly Idaho) because they grow slower and are more “solid.” Who knew?

Then I read about Five Guys giving away free peanuts in Stan Phelps’ marketing lagniappe (a little something extra) project.

Fortunately Five Guys opened up a new restaurant near my home, so off I went with my wife to see — um, I mean research — what the fuss was about. (Note to accountant: this is why I expensed that lunch.)

First impression, ordering experience

Five Guys has a bright, upbeat design. Moderately busy, with lots of perky but not overly effusive employees. Got a free basket of peanuts while waiting in line. Good start.

Attendant asked if we had been to a Five Guys before. Nice touch. We said “no” which was a good thing.
Otherwise we might not have ordered a “little” cheese burger, which is how they describe a
single-patty burger.

Liked the fact that the menu included calorie counts. Didn’t like the fact that it would take 30 minutes
on a Stairmaster to burn off those burger calories.

The meal

We both ordered cheese burgers and split an order of fries. Burger was excellent — juicy and not too
“dense.” They hand make their burgers, so they turn out much like what you’d cook on the home BBQ grill. Perfect.

However, I didn’t much care for the fries. Seemed a bit soggy and lacking flavor.
Maybe my taste buds have been corrupted by McDonalds and Burger King over the years,
but I like crispier fries with a bit more salt.

And hey, where are the milk shakes? Seriously, if I’m on a diet I shouldn’t be at a burger joint anyway.
I’d trade the free peanuts for a really good chocolate shake. On a more positive note, their drink dispenser was pretty cool.

The dining experience

Good for fast food (our order came in just a few minutes), perhaps a bit better or just different
from other big chain outlets. But nothing amazing.

Interestingly, the walls were covered with quotes about the rave reviews that Five Guys has received from various newspapers and magazines. I wondered why, if the
burgers were so good, did they need to promote it so aggressively in the restaurant?

The verdict: Go for the burger!

As the sign on the wall says, go to Five Guys for a great $5 hamburger. The overall experience was good, and the free peanuts was a plus.

While I didn’t care for the fries, it seems I’m in the minority based on the reviews I’ve read.
You’re out of luck if you want a shake, chicken sandwich or other options, and there’s no “value meal”
that combines a burger/fries/drink for $5 or less.

In this case, I’d say that the products (burgers and fries) are the main reason to go to Five Guys.
The customer experience is very nice for the price you pay, but it’s secondary to the food.


  1. Hi Bob, the upscale burger segment in QSR is exploding. Smashburger is another player and I think their burgers are a bit better.

    Interestingly White Castle, who originated the slide, has 3 new burger-less concepts, Deckers, Laughing Noodle and Blaze.

    One could eat their way through the country with all of the new QSR concepts:)

    All the best!

  2. Thanks for the comment. Maybe someone should create a business that includes QSRs and health clubs. They’d make money as customers got fat, then as they slimmed down!

  3. Hey, my opinion of who has the best burger, is definitely Five Guys, hats of to you.
    Smash burger does not have a chance or meat in there huge bun. Big up to FIVE GUYS!


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here