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How Five Guys Dominated The Burger Industry

Five Guys burger with fries
Five Guys burger with fries - Deutschlandreform/Shutterstock

You may have seen your local Five Guys around and wondered," What's the hype?" After all, they seem like any other burger joint around town, and, quite frankly, you probably think the place a bit overrated. Five Guys may seem like an amped-up gimmick that cloaks its typical burger fare in jacked-up prices and a rock 'n roll-themed dining room, all to solicit customers into thinking they're somehow better. But what if we told you that there are many amazing and totally justifiable reasons that Five Guys has dominated the burger industry?

You may not think so, but there are plenty of explanations as to why Five Guys stands out among so many other restaurants in the burger sector. In this post, we aim to dig up some of the awesome ways Five Guys keeps its customers coming back for more, and what exactly makes them so distinctly (and deliciously) unique. So, what exactly is Five Guys cookin' up that's so different from the rest? Bite into the details below to find out!

Read more: Only Five Guys Fans Will Know These Secrets

It's D.C.'s Literal Ma And Pa Shop Turned National Franchise

Five Guys restaurant
Five Guys restaurant - Instagram

We all know that ma and pa shops are the ones serving up the most delicious eats, right? Believe it or not, that's exactly how Five Guys started. Jerry and Janie Murrell started up a family-owned local burger joint for residents in Virginia in 1986. These simple but tasty burgers won the hearts of the locals, and in 2003, the couple decided to expand the business into a national franchise. Over time, Five Guys (affectionately named after the five sons in the family) then stole the spotlight as one of the most popular and well-known burger chains in the nation, offering up what so many competitors failed to, and that's quality ingredients with superior taste.

Today, Five Guys is still going strong as it continues to carve its own space in the burger industry. By offering rich and satisfying burger and fry options to customers at over 1,700 locations globally, Five Guys has masterfully found a way to keep patrons satisfied and always returning for more.

Offering Deliciously Salted Fresh Cut Fries Cooked In Peanut Oil

Spilled fries on table
Spilled fries on table - Instagram

When it comes to french fries, Five Guys really outshines the rest. Of course, we all love a hot order of McDonald's fries every now and again, but these additive-laden fries really don't hold a candle to Five Guys' fries. And in case you're assuming that we're just talking about the taste, think again. Offering both salted and Cajun varieties, Five Guys' means business when it comes to their fries, and everything from the minimal ingredients to the cooking process highlights their dedication.

For example, did you know that every batch of Five Guys' fries is fresh cut and twice fried to crispy perfection? How about the fact that the fries are cooked up in pure peanut oil, which is also non-hydrogenated and contains zero cholesterol? As for any additives in the fries? Pfff, get lost. You'll find none here, making this one of our favorite restaurants to get hot potatoes pure and unadulterated -- just as they're meant to be. Top these crave-worthy potatoes with a few splashes of malt vinegar and dunk them in ketchup before devouring. Need any more proof that Five Guys is a head above the rest in the fast food category? Didn't think so.

The Buns Have Ridiculously Simple Ingredients

Sesame buns on table
Sesame buns on table - Alvarez/Getty Images

While other fast food chains stick to buns containing dough conditioners, preservatives, high fructose corn syrup, and other icky ingredients, Five Guys is busy serving up buns made with ingredients you'll likely already find stashed in your pantry. Yep, it's true. Five Guys buns contain minimal ingredients despite the fact that these buns often garner so much flak from the Five Guys' patron fan base. In fact, if there's one thing people like to complain about when it comes to how Five Guys' food tastes, it's that the bread is spongier and softer than other bread types -- often to its demise.

What most people fail to understand is that the bread is actually of higher quality than you'll find at most other fast food chains. Free of additives, it's made with only water, salt, sugar, vegetable shortening, milk, eggs, bleached bread flour, yeast, and sesame seeds, you can expect a slight difference in taste and texture, but that's a good thing. These rolls are basically made from scratch before heaping on a juicy grilled patty, melty cheese, and all your favorite toppings. If that's not something to be excited about, we don't know what is!

Your Beef Patties Grilled (And Assembled) In Front Of You

Five Guys burger assembly
Five Guys burger assembly - Instagram

Yes, places like Culver's like to advertise that their burgers are cooked-to-order, but how many fast food joints do you know of that actually grill the burgers directly in front of you? Five Guys doesn't shy away from showing their customers exactly what's going on in the kitchen. The kitchen is positioned front and center, and your fresh grilled burger is not only made to order but is actually cooked right before your eyes.

Prior to opening up shop, rest assured your raw burger patty has been thoroughly inspected, hand-shaped, and stored in a cooler where it will stay for the day. Every patty is then swooped up from the fridge, thrown on a grill shielded by glass, and cooked to utter perfection while you watch the entire process from start to finish. Also, the burgers are made of 100% beef and never contain any fillers or byproducts as compared to other chains. Rock on, Five Guys.

Free Toppings Equates To Totally Customizable Burgers

Stacked Five Guys burger
Stacked Five Guys burger - Instagram

What could be better than scoring a freshly grilled 100% burger patty like the one you'd make on your own grill at home? Adding all your favorite toppings, of course! At Five Guys, they spare no expense to ensure you are able to order the burger of your dreams by offering practically every burger topping under the sun — for free.

Yep, you can get any burger topping that Five Guys offer for free. Choose from options like grilled onions, green peppers, grilled mushrooms, jalapeños, tomatoes, lettuce, pickles, and more. Feeling overwhelmed? No worries. Five Guys has an "all the way" option, which automatically includes any topping you see in bold, such as lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, grilled onions, grilled mushrooms, ketchup, mustard, and mayo. But your choice of delicious fixings doesn't stop there. You can also decide to add condiments like A1 sauce, hot sauce, or barbecue sauce to enhance your creative bite. So, move over, Burger King. "Have it your way" has suddenly taken on a yummy new meaning at Five Guys ... and we love it!

They Offer High-Quality Bacon

Five Guys cooks making bacon
Five Guys cooks making bacon - Facebook

There's nothing like a thick, chewy piece of bacon on a burger, right? And while fast food restaurants like Wendy's may offer bacon on their burgers, it isn't quite the same as ordering from a burger joint that fries up real smokehouse bacon on-site.

Yep, Five Guys actually outsources their bacon from one of America's last smokehouses then cooks it up right in the store to offer you a delectable treat on an already outrageously delicious burger. And while some assume the bacon is subpar (much like what people assume about their buns), the opposite is actually true. This authentic smokehouse pork is cooked early every morning to deliver that unbeatable wow factor to your taste buds. Don't forget that Five Guys also offers a BLT, which gives you an opportunity to sample the bacon in a way that really lets it shine. But don't worry — more on other Five Guys sandwich offerings later!

A Simple Menu That Focuses On Quality Over Quantity

Person holding Five Guys menu
Person holding Five Guys menu - Instagram

There's something that's so comforting about utter simplicity, especially when it comes to food. Thus far, we've detailed how quality is what ultimately sets Five Guys apart from its competitors. Interestingly enough, Five Guys also rarely adds new items to their menu and, in fact, they don't really have to. Unlike so many other burger joints that are constantly churning out new items to keep customers satisfied, Five Guys sticks to one basic menu that focuses on dishing up the most consistently delicious burgers and fries (along with a few other selections) possible.

Indeed, the Five Guys' menu is pretty basic and might leave many scratching their heads, especially when compared to other burger chains like McDonald's and Burger King. Despite this truth, Five Guys ensures that all burgers, fries, and other offerings are crafted only with the best ingredients, and rarely include the many commonly offensive elements found in so many fast food items today. Because of this, Five Guys stands out from among their competitors as a higher quality yet very basic fast food chain, and yes, this is definitely reflected in the price. But honestly, wouldn't you rather spend money on better-tasting, consistently reliable food rather than other burgers chock-full of ingredients you can't pronounce? We know which we'd choose.

Free Peanuts Are Aplenty

Five Guys peanut tub
Five Guys peanut tub - Twitter

If you're hungry and simply cannot stand to watch while fresh-cooked burgers sizzle right before your very eyes, take heart. Five Guys thankfully offers up hearty containers of peanuts to its eagerly anticipating customers, which is why most times you'll find heaps of peanut shells strewn across the tables and floors. Many have come up with a variety of reasons Five Guys generously provides its customers with peanuts while they wait, but the most consistent excuse seems to be that it's a way of distracting customers while Five Guys' grill masters work hard at getting your burger cooked to juicy perfection.

Whether this is actually the case, we don't know, but we could understand Five Guys' workers not wanting to be ogled to death while making your burger. Either way, we sure appreciate the treat, especially when our tummies are rumbling in response to all the tantalizing sights and smells emitting from the place. Oh, and in case you think other fast food joints are offering their own version of a snack while you wait, think again. As far as we know, this is a Five Guys exclusive. Thanks, guys!

They Offer Milkshakes With Customizable Mix-Ins

Five Guys bacon milkshake
Five Guys bacon milkshake - Twitter

Sure, you can sometimes get your ice cream or milkshake custom-created at other fast food places. But can you order bacon in it? Case closed. Look, we know this isn't a novel idea, and yes, some fast food joints offer a more extensive milkshake add-in menu than Five Guys. But considering the high-quality meals that the restaurant already offers, it sure feels good to pair it with a creamy, cool milkshake that could potentially contain bacon, Lotus Biscoff caramelized cookie pieces, or a variety of other mix-in options. In need of more traditional choices? Try malted milk, peanut butter, Reese's Cups, strawberries, Oreo cookies, or a number of other tempting choices, all mixed into your choice of creamy milkshake base.

And in case you think you're limited to a vanilla-flavored milkshake base option, the truth is that you can select different flavors to suit your palate. Try the strawberry or chocolate flavor, and top it off with a mountain of whipped cream. Oh, and like the burger toppings, you can select as many mix-ins as you want to create the milkshake of your dreams. Still wondering how Five Guys has managed to dominate the burger industry?

Extra Cheese And Bacon Is Free

Extra cheesy Five Guys burger
Extra cheesy Five Guys burger - Tom_young67/Getty Images

While other burger establishments will undoubtedly charge you for toppings like cheese and bacon, at Five Guys, there's no such thing. Yes, if you order a bacon cheeseburger over a regular sandwich, it'll cost you a little more, but if you want "extra" bacon on your burger, bacon dog, or BLT, you won't have to worry about stacking your bill. Actually, this revelation has been so mind-blowing for some that a few have even tried rigging the system by ordering as much bacon as they can on a single burger to reserve it for breakfast the next day.

While we won't go as far as to suggest you order your next day's breakfast worth of bacon on your sammie, we will say that if you love a little extra cheesy and bacony goodness on your burger, dog, or sandwich, don't hesitate to ask for it. The Five Guys chain, though expensive, is generous even with toppings like these, and the workers have no qualms about packing your order full of the delicious goods you love.

Extra Bag Fries Are A Normal Occurrence

Five Guys fries in bag
Five Guys fries in bag - Twitter

Remember when we told you that Five Guys offered fresh-cut twice-fried fries for your pleasure? One thing we neglected to mention is that this place also gives you an extra scoop of fries for free. Don't worry. You don't have to ask the person taking your order for a free extra scoop. This scoop is standard, comes as "bag fries", and is a token of generosity exclusively from the owner of the Five Guys joint.

As Jerry Murrel explains, some fast food places tend to give measly portions of fries that hardly satisfy the customer. Instead, Murrell wanted to ensure patrons feel like they've been given their money's worth, especially when it comes to the fries. Honestly, we really appreciate it, especially considering the stiff prices often featured on Five Guys' menu. But you get what you pay for, and that certainly rings true when you choose to dine at this burger joint.

Coke Freestyle Allows For Customizable Drinks

Coke Freestyle at Five Guys
Coke Freestyle at Five Guys - Facebook

Since customization is indeed the theme at every local Five Guys restaurant, you shouldn't be surprised to know that they allow you to creatively slap together your own soda, as well. Though this might not be true at every Five Guys location, participating venues will have a Coke Freestyle machine that has almost every fountain drink you can think of. What's really cool is that you can mash up these drinks any way you want, and thus, create a deliciously unique Coke Freestyle beverage that'll suit your taste buds in a distinct true-to-you way.

Want to add a little strawberry Fanta to your traditional lemon-lime Sprite sip? You got it. Can't choose between Vanilla Coke and Cherry Coke? Heck, take 'em both. But hey, if you don't like soda, don't tune us out just yet. Some locations even feature juice and sports drink options (Minute Maid, Vitamin Water Zero, nostalgic Hi-C, and Powerade are examples). Thus, there's a little bit of everything for everyone at Five Guys, which is yet another very valid reason we think the place has totally dominated the fast food burger restaurant game.

They Offer Hot Dogs, Grilled Cheese, And Vegetarian Options

Five Guys grilled cheese
Five Guys grilled cheese - Instagram

While other fast food burger restaurants have your traditional chicken sandwich, nuggets, and maybe a salad or two, Five Guys sticks to its simple but tasty theme by offering an all-beef hot dog to those who'd rather skip the usual burger fare cooked up a variety of ways. Choose between a plain hot dog and one that features bacon, cheese, or both.

Looking for vegetarian options? Try a plain veggie sandwich or try it with a slice of melted cheese atop. You can also opt to eat grilled cheese, or for those of you who aren't vegetarian but love bacon, try the franchise's ultimate BLT. No matter which you choose, just know that you've got options when dining in at Five Guys. No, the menu isn't as extensive as other fast food joints, but remember, Five Guys' claim to fame is truly about offering a simpler menu with higher-quality ingredients. Who could argue with that?

Secret Menu Items Abound

Five Guys lettuce wrapped burger
Five Guys lettuce wrapped burger - Twitter

Lastly, because of the highly customizable nature of Five Guys' burgers, sammies, dogs, and sodas, you know there comes with it endless opportunities to get creative and make whatever the heck you want with the options you're given. Consider the popular patty melt secret menu item created by asking for a burger patty sandwiched between the grilled cheese already featured on the Five Guys menu. Or try the Artery Annihilator, which features a hamburger and hot dog all on the same bun. Not into all the hoopla? Try a lettuce-wrapped burger (yep, they do those) or a burger bowl. Neither is typically featured directly on the menu, but if you order a burger this way, you won't have to worry that they won't know what you're talking about.

In the mood for a Chicago-style hot dog? Make one up on the fly by asking for a traditional hot dog with added tomato slices, pickles, relish, green peppers, and mustard. There's so much you can do with the Five Guys menu; the opportunities really do seem virtually endless.

Read the original article on Mashed.