In 1986 the first Five Guys location opened their doors in Arlington, VA, when Jerry and Janie Murrell advised their two older, of four sons to "Start a business or go to college.” The business route won and the Murrell family opened a carry-out hamburger business. In 1987 after the birth of Mr. Murrell’s fifth son, the name "Five Guys" evolved. As their family grew, so did their business.
Under the guidance of Jerry, founder and CEO and Janie, the Murrell family served only hand-formed burgers cooked to perfection on a grill along with fresh-cut fries cooked in pure peanut oil. Five Guys was the place to get a fresh, juicy burger with all the toppings you could stuff between fresh-baked ...view middle of the document...
The store thrived, thanks to word of mouth and some positive reviews in the local press. A second restaurant opened in 1989. A handful more opened in subsequent years. The new places had a positive effect on family harmony. As they expanded Murrell was adamant about one thing: The menu had to stay the same, just burgers and fries, and good ones. The burgers were handmade and never frozen. The hand-cut fries, also never frozen, were sourced from northern climes (“Denser texture,” says Murrell). “We kept trying to refine what we already did,” he says. He set his house on fire while trying to figure out how to cook better fries.
From the beginning the seven Murrells have made business decisions by a unanimous vote. To this day the entire family meets every Tuesday at 1 p.m. at the Lorton headquarters to talk business. The meetings can get boisterous. “We have soundproofed walls in the meeting room, and my office is on one side and Janie’s is on the other,” says Chad. “We don’t want the rest of the office hearing us go at it.”
Their biggest decision came in 2002. By then there were five restaurants, all in northern Virginia. There appeared to be an appetite for more, and franchising seemed like the way to do it. Murrell was initially against it. “I just wasn’t sure I could get strangers to buy into our concept,” he says. But his sons—led by Matt—pushed him. Matt bought his father a copy of Franchising for Dummies, co-written by Wendy’s founder Dave Thomas. The book struck a chord. And around that time the family met Mark Moseley, the former Washington Redskin and the last “straight ahead” kicker in the NFL. Moseley had a burger joint of his own and had been interested in franchising “before my partner sold it out from under me,” he says. Moseley and the Murrells met with Fransmart, a franchise-development company. The family all voted in favor of the move. Moseley was hired to head up franchising (Burke, 2012).
In my opinion, the three factors that contributed to Five Guys success in such a short time include the following:
1) Always fresh, never frozen
2) High quality (98% lean beef, peanut oil)
3) Customer Satisfaction
Five Guys got into its current position by keeping what it stands for and what it produces very simple so that customers know exactly what they are getting. Coupled with this it has been in the right place at the right time, as the "better burger" market has grown rapidly in a short space of time.
The rise of the better burger and casual dining markets are indicative of the beginnings of a change in US tastes; ingredients and quality are becoming more important to consumers than they have been before. The large fast food corporations are steadily becoming aware of this trend, however, and are adapting their menus.