Five Guys

Five Guys Enterprises, LLC
Genre Fast casual restaurant
Founded 1986 (1986)
Arlington, Virginia, U.S.
Founder Jerry Murrell
Headquarters Lorton, Virginia, U.S.
Area served
France (starting early 2016)
Saudi Arabia
United Arab Emirates
United Kingdom
United States
Products Hamburgers, french fries, hot dogs, soft drinks, milkshakes

Five Guys is an American fast casual restaurant chain focused on hamburgers, hot dogs, and French fries, with its headquarters in the Lorton community in unincorporated Fairfax County, Virginia.[1][2] The first Five Guys restaurant opened in 1986 in Arlington County, Virginia, and between 1986 and 2001, the chain expanded to five locations scattered through the Washington, D.C. metro area.[3]

In early 2003, the chain began franchising, opening the doors to rapid expansion. In a year and a half, permits had been sold for over 300 franchised locations.[3] As of 2012, Five Guys has over 1,000 locations open throughout the United States and Canada and over 1,500 locations under development.[3] As of 2012 the company was the fastest-growing fast food chain in the United States, with a 32.8% sales increase from 2010 to 2011.[4]


A Five Guys restaurant in Pittsburgh

Five Guys was founded in 1986 by Janie and Jerry Murrell; Jerry and the couple's sons, Jim, Matt, Chad, and Ben, were the original "Five Guys."[5][6] The Murrells had a fifth son, Tyler, two years later. Today, all five sons, the current "Five Guys", are involved: Matt and Jim travel the country visiting stores, Chad oversees training, Ben selects the franchisees, and Tyler runs the bakery.[7] The first Five Guys was in Arlington's Westmont Shopping Center. Buns were baked in the same center by Brenner's Bakery. This location closed, in favor of another in Alexandria, at the intersection of King and North Beauregard Streets, which closed on September 21, 2013.

More followed in Old Town Alexandria and Springfield, Virginia, making five by 2001. Their success encouraged the Murrells to franchise their concept the following year, engaging Fransmart, a franchise sales organization. Former Washington Redskins kicker Mark Moseley, who had gone to work for Fransmart after his football career, played a key role in Five Guys' expansion and went on to become the company's director of franchise development after it ended its business relationship with Fransmart.[6][8] In early 2003 the chain began franchising, opening the doors to rapid expansion which caught the attention of national restaurant trade organizations and the national press. The expansion started in Virginia and Maryland, and by the end of 2004, over 300 units were in development through the Northeast. Over the next few years the chain rapidly expanded across the entire United States and into Canada, reaching over 1,000 locations by 2012.[3]

The first location outside North America opened in the United Kingdom in July 2013, in London on Long Acre in Covent Garden, one day before the opening of Shake Shack's first UK outlet just 300m away.[9] The second location was in Reading, Berkshire. The chain now has 27 restaurants open across the UK.[10] Five Guys also has locations in the Middle East and has continued to expand in Europe.

A Five Guys' bacon cheeseburger
Five Guys restaurants offer complimentary peanuts

The Five Guys menu is centered on hamburgers offered with American cheese or bacon, kosher style hot dogs, grilled cheese and vegetable sandwiches. Five Guys uses buns that are sweeter and "eggier" than normal buns.[8] Fresh-cut French fries are the sole side item, available salted only in "Five Guys style" or seasoned "Cajun style".

Complimentary roasted in-shell peanuts are offered for on-site consumption at most locations, with signage alerting potential customers who may have a peanut allergy. Peanuts are not permitted to be taken out of the restaurant, out of concern for spreading the allergen.[11]

For dessert, the chain sells milkshakes available with 10 different mix-ins. Customers can mix and match multiple flavors, and even add bacon to the shake.


Interior of a Five Guys restaurant in Charlottesville, Virginia

A Five Guys restaurant typically consists of red-and-white checkered decorations, open kitchens, a single counter for purchasing and picking up food, and tables and chairs for customers.

Bags of potatoes are sometimes stacked in customer spaces due to an occasional lack of storage space, or, in some franchises, for aesthetic reasons.[8]

Many locations offer wall-mounted cork boards with notecards and crayons for customers to draw on or, if the customer is deaf, write on to place orders.

Employee positions are shown by colour coded uniform: employees wearing a regular red T-shirt are crew members; employees with gray/white T-shirts/polos are managers -- ranging from shift leader to general manager.


The restaurant uses a red and white checkered color pattern and red uniforms. Two cooks pose for a photo in New Jersey.

Five Guys has received numerous awards in D.C. area publications, including "Number 1 Burger" by Washingtonian Magazine for seven years. US President Barack Obama is reportedly a fan, buying lunch for himself and his colleagues at the Washington Five Guys branch in 2011.[12]

Since franchising, it has also received awards in other cities, including Amherst, Dubai, New York; Redlands, California; Annapolis, Maryland; Charlotte, North Carolina; Richmond, Virginia; Huntington, New York; Charlottesville, Virginia; St. Louis, Missouri; Houston, Texas; Austin, Texas; Johnstown, Pennsylvania; State College, Pennsylvania; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania;[13] Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania;[14] Virginia Beach, Virginia;[15] Jacksonville, Florida;[16] Youngstown, Ohio; Schererville, Indiana; Tucson, Arizona; Newburgh, New York and Hampton, Virginia.

The chain has something of a cult following[17] and remarkable brand loyalty. Five Guys has been rated one of the most talked-about burger brands online.[8][18]

As Five Guys continues to expand into the West Coast comparisons have been made with In-N-Out Burger, another generally similar fast food chain. Comparing the two chains in 2011, the Los Angeles Times noted that Five Guys' menu items are generally more expensive than In-N-Out's, they lack drive-throughs that In-N-Out is famous for, and are most often found inside shopping malls. The newspaper still conceded that by pricing its products higher, offering bigger burgers and building larger dining rooms, Five Guys could capitalize on the recent trend of mid-level places that offer more expensive products than fast food but cheaper than fancy restaurants.[19]

In 2012, Market Force Information, Inc. polled 7,600 fast-food consumers, and Five Guys ranked No. 1 in food quality and taste, service, cleanliness, and atmosphere.[20]

In 2011, Five Guys was ranked first in "Fast Food - Large Chains" and "Best Burger" in Zagat's annual Fast Food Survey.[21]


Men's Health magazine stated on their web site that Five Guys' meals are generally considered unhealthy.[22] They state that a standard double patty burger, for example, contains 700 calories and 20 grams of saturated fat.[22] Men's Health also rated Five Guys' french fries as some of the most unhealthy food in America, saying that a standard large order of fries contains almost 1,500 calories.[23] The Center for Science in the Public Interest placed Five Guys' bacon cheeseburger, which it claims contains 920 calories, among its 2010 list of most unhealthy meals available at U.S. chain restaurants.[24] In 2015, the Five Guys site states that a bacon cheeseburger contains 930 calories and a large order of fries contains 1,314 calories.[25] Time Magazine added an order of Five Guys' french fries, which contains 1,464 calories to their list of "Top 10 Worst Fast Food Meals."[26]


  1. "Contact Us." Five Guys. Retrieved on October 1, 2012. "10440 Furnace Road Suite 205 Lorton, VA 22079"
  2. (It previously occupied a different location in Lorton)"Contact (archived)." Five Guys. November 28, 2006. Retrieved on October 1, 2012. "Five Guys Enterprises, LLC 8390 Terminal Road Suite B Lorton, VA 22079 "
  3. 1 2 3 4 "About Us". Five Guys. Retrieved 10 November 2012.
  4. "Wendy's dethrones Burger King but Five Guys grows fastest". March 19, 2012. Retrieved January 19, 2015.
  5. Rosenwald, Michael S. (April 3, 2006). "Five Guys, Taking a Bigger Bite". The Washington Post. Retrieved March 10, 2008.
  6. 1 2 "Number 1 with a Burger" (PDF). Restaurant Business. August 2006. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 26, 2007. Retrieved September 13, 2008.
  7. Liz Welch (April 1, 2010). "How I Did It: Jerry Murrell, Five Guys Burgers and Fries". Inc. Mansueto Ventures LLC. Retrieved April 10, 2010.
  8. 1 2 3 4 Karen Weise (August 11, 2011). "Behind Five Guys' Beloved Burgers". BusinessWeek.
  9. "Five Guys v Shake Shack - restaurant review". The Evening Standard.
  10. Thompson, James (5 April 2013). "Dunstone fleshes out business with Five Guys launch in the UK". London Evening Standard.
  11. "Frequently Asked Questions | Five Guys Burgers and Fries". Retrieved 2012-10-04.
  12. Lisa Hannah Raven (April 4, 2014). "Uxbridge Five Guys Scheduled for June Opening". Get West London. Retrieved April 9, 2014.
  13. "Press". Newmarket , Ontario Canada: Five Guys. Archived from the original on April 14, 2006. Retrieved April 17, 2006.
  14. "The Best Food – Best Of 2007". The Pitt News.
  15. "Virginia Beach Best Food & Dining". Landmark Media Enterprises L.L.C. Archived from the original on August 22, 2007. Retrieved June 26, 2007.
  16. "Jacksonville Magazine's The Best of Jacksonville 2007" (PDF).
  17. Southern, Keiran (2016-01-28). "Five Guys Newcastle restaurant could be on the menu for popular burger chain". nechronicle. Retrieved 2016-05-20.
  18. Lisa Joy Rosner (March 14, 2011). "Best (Bad for You) Burgers". NetBase. Retrieved Nov 9, 2011.
  19. Sharon Bernstein (April 8, 2011). "Will Five Guys overtake In-N-Out?". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved Nov 10, 2011.
  20. Hsu, Tiffany (2012-09-19). "Five Guys voted favorite burger chain, McDonald's near bottom". Retrieved 2012-10-04.
  21. Polis, Carey (September 6, 2011). "HuffPostZagat". Huffington Post. Retrieved 26 November 2012.
  22. 1 2 "Five Guys". Men's Health — Eat This, Not That. 2008. Archived from the original on July 30, 2013. Retrieved January 23, 2015.
  23. "20 NEW Worst Foods in America". Men's Health — Eat This, Not That. Archived from the original on January 14, 2013. Retrieved January 23, 2015.
  24. Noah Galuten (May 28, 2010). "CSPI Releases Its Annual List Of The Fattiest Foods In America". LA Weekly. Retrieved May 28, 2010.
  25. "Nutrition Information" (PDF). Retrieved January 23, 2015.
  26. Gregory, Sean; Oloffson, Kristi (2009-06-18). "Top 10 Worst Fast-Food Meals". Time. Retrieved 2016-05-20.
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