Building the Better Burger: The Inside Story of Five Guys

When it comes to building a better burger, Five Guys has answers. Over the past twenty years, it has become one of the fastest-growing restaurant chains in the country. Founded in 1986, their objective, right from the beginning, was to build a better burger cooked to perfection on a grill, along with fresh-cut fries cooked in pure peanut oil.

The Burger Biz

Five Guys CEO, Jerry Murrell, had this to say about opening a hamburger business: “My mom always said if you can give a good haircut, make a good drink and make a good hamburger, you’ll be all right in life. I just thought that was a good idea. I didn’t think we could make a good hamburger, but I thought, well, a lot of people do it, so maybe we could figure it out.”

And figure it out they did, as they were going for quality right from the beginning. They could not get a bank loan, so they scraped together the funds and rented a small, out-of-the-way place. But one thing they did not skimp on was ingredients—they only bought the best. From the beef to the bacon to getting the best rolls, the Murrell family did not compromise. And then there are their incredible hand-cut fries, cooked in peanut oil (costing several times more than the oil used in most burger places). Imagine: Their first restaurant was a takeout joint that was far out of the way, with no parking, selling burgers for twice the amount of the average burger chain. They broke even from day one.

The Five Guys’ philosophy aligns with a datum from L. Ron Hubbard in his article of 20 September 1976 called “THE STAT PUSH.”

“The answer to not having money is, of course, to make more money. BUT that is not done with a Gross Income push.’ It is done with putting a whole organization there, every part of it functioning and delivering with all the bugs out of its lines, and making a lot, lot, lot more money.”

The Murrell family literally put the whole organization there—their entire family was involved right from the outset, and this continues to this day with everyone having a role to play. Matt and Jim travel the country visiting stores, Chad oversees training, Ben selects the franchisees, and Tyler runs the bakery.

Training Staff

They believe strongly in training and working with staff. They even have a “fry calibration” class, which drills staff on the proper mix of starch, water and temperature needed to make the perfect french fry.

Mr. Hubbard goes on to say:

“Fifty trained staff producing everything an organization is supposed to produce will make far more money than five guys concentrating on GI only and letting the rest of the organizational go to blazes.”

Five Guys is known to do things a little differently than most restaurant chains. They invest heavily in their workers—paying them a decent wage. As Murrell says: “Hire well-paid people and they’ll stay with you.” So, the Murrells did not just push sales; they pushed making better burgers and fries and delivering an incredible product.

As L. Ron Hubbard says:

“First of all one has to know precisely that STATISTICS ARE AN INDICATOR; THEY ARE NOT AN OBJECT.



The Murrells represent quality, and they achieved their numbers not by pushing sales but by pushing a great product and differentiating themselves from the rest of the marketplace.


  1. “Five Guys.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 9 Jan. 2017.
  2. About Us.” Five Guys. N.p., n.d. Web. 9 Jan. 2017.
  3. urke, Monte. “Five Guys Burgers: America’s Fastest Growing Restaurant Chain.” Forbes Media, 18 July 2012. Web. 9 Jan. 2017.
  4. oiner, Lottie L. “Five Guys Found Simple Recipe for Success: Do It Right.” USA Today. Gannett Satellite Information Network, 27 July 2012. Web. 9 Jan. 2017.


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