How I Did It: Jerry Murrell, Five Guys Burgers & Fries

Jerry Murrell, founder of the astonishingly good Five Guys Burgers & Fries, talks to Inc.’s Liz Welch:

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 we first opened, the Pentagon called and said, “We want 15 hamburgers; what time can you deliver?” I said, “What time can you pick them up? We don’t deliver.” There was an admiral running the place. So he called me up personally and said, “Mr. Murrell, everyone delivers food to the Pentagon.” Matt and I got a 22-foot-long banner that said ABSOLUTELY NO DELIVERY and hung it in front of our store. And then our business from the Pentagon picked up.

The entire interview is just fantastic.  There’s a Five Guys about a half hour from the MIPRO offices, and it’s worth every bit of the drive.

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