Arriving back in the NYC area from out of town at LaGuardia I was already hungry. For some reason on the plane I was thinking about a quick burger and fries at the Five Guys www.fiveguys.com at LaGuardia. The problem was that at the Delta Airlines terminal there is no Five Guys (it’s at the Central Terminal). We knew there was a Five Guys on the way home (there are actually several in our neck of the woods) and decided to go there and take it home.
As I was driving I was thinking about how far the Five Guys brand has come in such a short time. It seems to me that Five Guys is trying to become the East Coast’s own version of In-N-Out Burger – http://www.in-n-out.com a venerated West Coast chain of burgers, fries and shakes. I became a fan of In-N-Out when I went to college in Los Angeles many years ago. I still try not to miss an opportunity to have a double-double with cheese and a shake when I am in L.A. these days. In fact In-N-Out is rumored to be opening a location or two in New York City in the near future but as yet I’ve heard nothing more than that.
When I walked into the Stamford, CT location I noticed that there were at least ten people working behind the counter and there was a pretty good sized line for a Sunday afternoon at 2:45PM. And for the record Five Guys is not-fast food but they do have fast food prices. Every burger is made to order (like In-N-Out) and the French fries are really delicious and plentiful. In addition while you wait (and it was a pretty decent wait – like 15-20 minutes) there is a box of peanuts (shells on) that you can sample and eat as much as you want. People were helping themselves and seemed to be content to wait even if a bit impatiently.
I’ve been impressed with the brand consistency of In-N-Out and now I can say the same thing about Five Guys. I’ve been to several different locations and they are delivering on the promise every time. The employees seem to be happy to be working there and yet they are in constant motion. The customers appear to be happy to be there and as such in general there’s an overall good feeling in the place. The décor is bright, simple and utilitarian – that’s a good thing. If In-N-Out wants to make it on the East Coast I suggest that they hurry up.
Five Guys does not do a great deal of advertising as far as I have noticed. By consistently delivering on the brand promise they are building a loyal following – and that’s the best advertising they could ever do. If Five Guys did want to do some advertising I’d welcome the opportunity to work with them and we have a number of ideas to put into play. But if not, I will be content to just enjoy the fact that they can be counted on to deliver a quality experience.
I hope that Five Guys doesn’t lose sight of that. What do you think?