This past week, Five Guys made national headlines when it eclipsed In-N-Out to become the United States' most beloved burger joint. Many people have voiced either their support or shock at Five Guys claiming the stop spot, especially here at the Foodbeast office (where I'm basically the sole supporter of Five Guys).
While Five Guys has been growing fast and has now earned this esteemed honor, not everybody knows who the Five Guys are or where they came from, so I felt it best to tell y'all how this rapidly spreading burger chain began.
In 1986, Jerry and Janie Murrell, along with their four sons, opened up the first Five Guys in Arlington, Virginia as a simple carry-out burger shack. Their fresh burgers and fries swiftly became a cult phenomenon in the greater Washington, D.C. area, eventually being voted the #1 burger in the metropolitan district of D.C. During that time period, a fifth son was born, completing the "Five Guys," or sons, that still run the business today.
Over the next 15 years, the popularity of Five Guys continued to grow, leading the family to change their model from carryout to sit-down restaurant and open up four more stores in the area. However, that wasn't enough to satisfy the growing crowd of fans, so Five Guys began franchising in 2003 to rapidly expand their business.
As their national image grew, so did the number of stores. Five Guys franchises totaled around 300 by the end of their first year experimenting with the franchising model. By 2012, over 1,000 locations had sprung up in the United States and Canada, with other continents getting their first taste of Five Guys the following year with the 2013 opening of a London Five Guys.
Today, more than 1,500 Five Guys restaurants exist, with another 1,500 still in development, meaning the chain still has plenty of room for growth. What's been the secret to their success? Staying true to the original burger mantra that made them famous: fresh, made-to-order, and large amounts of peanut oil-cooked fries.
Five Guys is also known for having tons of peanuts on deck at each location and for the wicked amount of customization you can do to your burgers, which many fans have grown to love over the years. Between that and their commitments to quality, it's no wonder that Five Guys has become such a beloved and top-ranked restaurant.