Just a wonderful interview with Five Guys Burgers and Fries founder Jerry Murrell. Their entire focus is on the product.
The magic to our hamburgers is quality control. We toast our buns on a grill—a bun toaster is faster, cheaper, and toasts more evenly, but it doesn’t give you that caramelized taste. Our beef is 80 percent lean, never frozen, and our plants are so clean, you could eat off the floor. The burgers are made to order—you can choose from 17 toppings. That’s why we can’t do drive-throughs—it takes too long. We had a sign: “If you’re in a hurry, there are a lot of really good hamburger places within a short distance from here.” People thought I was nuts. But the customers appreciated it.
When I first moved to the DC Metro area in the early 90s I lived just off King Street/Route 7 in Alexandria, VA. A couple blocks from one of the first Five Guys. Wow, they sure can make a burger. For the first couple years they didn’t even have any seating. Folks would just walk to the parking lot and eat the darn things in their cars. They were just that good.