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The History of Five Guys

Jerry and Janie Murrell advised their four young sons Jim, Matt, Chad, and Ben, to “start a business or go to college.” After Jerry and Janie realized that their two oldest boys weren’t going to go to college, the family opened a carry-out burger joint in Arlington, Virginia in 1986. It was called Five Guys as a nod to Jerry and his four sons. (Later, a fifth son named Tyler was born, and the understanding of the name shifted to represent Jerry’s five sons.) With Jerry and Janie’s guidance, the boys served hand-formed burgers cooked on a grill along with freshly cut fries cooked in 100% peanut oil. Between 1986 and 2001, four more locations were added in the D.C. metro area. The new restaurants included sit-down seating to accommodate Five Guys’ growing clientele. In late 2002/early 2003, the family decided to offer Five Guys franchise locations in Virginia and Maryland. They sold out of franchise territory in 18 months and then made the decision to offer franchise options to the rest of the U.S. In 2010, Five Guys went international with their first location in Canada and then opened their first location outside of North America in London in 2013. In 2014, milkshakes were added to the official menu and in 2018, Five Guys reached a milestone of over 1,500 locations worldwide. The expansion continued with Five Guys opening their first Australian location in 2021. Just like the original Five Guys restaurant, all the locations are known for using only fresh (never frozen) beef and frying in 100% peanut oil. Along with their emphasis on freshness and quality, Five Guys is also known for offering a great deal of customization — according to their website, there are over 250,000 possible topping configurations for customers to choose from! All of the locations also stock plain peanuts; reportedly, customers enjoy over 260,000 peanuts per week at Five Guys locations. Interestingly, the buns are the restaurant’s only proprietary item, and they are baked fresh at bakeries five days a week; reportedly, the bakery operations are overseen by Tyler. In fact, all of the Murrells are still involved in the business. Today, Five Guys has expanded far beyond that first family-owned location into a cult favorite with a swath of loyal fans worldwide.

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