Business Lessons from “Five Guys Burgers and Fries”

Business Lessons from Five Guys Burgers and FriesThey’ve been featured in many of the major national media outlets including Forbes and Inc. magazines. A Family Business magazine feature calls them one of the restaurant industry’s largest family-owned businesses with some 1,000 restaurants and 2012 sales of $1 billion plus. You’ve seen the growth they’ve had here in Connecticut. So I thought you and I could certainly learn from Five Guys Burgers and Fries.

Imagine: Their success began just 27 years ago with a single location in Arlington, VA. When two of Jerry Murrell’s sons chose not to go to college Jerry told them he’d use their college education fund to open a hamburger shop that the two boys would run. Today the “five guys” that lead the chain are the five Murrell brothers, Matt, Jim, Chad, Ben, and Tyler. Jerry still serves as CEO and his wife (mother of the two youngest boys) Janie is the company secretary and treasurer. Now that’s family togetherness and family success. Here’s one major lesson I learned from reading about Five Guys.


Your Best Salesperson Is Your Customer

Business owners must recognize that the best salespeople for our company are customers. Jerry says that if we treat our customers right they walk out the door and sell for us by telling their friends about the food and the experience. (I don’t even want to think about what they say if we treat them poorly. That’s for another conversation.) At Five Guys the way to treat people right is with great food. The restaurant does not spend money on fancy décor. They go overboard on making the product (the food) as good as possible.

How does this apply to you and your business? Thank about how well you treat your customers. How do you know that what you think about how customers feel is true? Do you have a regular mechanism for measuring customer satisfaction? Do you identify and reward your most loyal customers? Do you show them appreciation?

What do your customers say to other people after they have experienced your product or service?  How can you encourage them to tell others about their positive experiences with your company?

Yes, your best salesperson is your customer—provided you treat that customer right. How are you doing?


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