Why You Can't Get Five Guys' Free Peanuts To-Go

Anyone that has ever been inside a Five Guys for even a few minutes can tell you there's one pretty specific item that separates it from the average McDonald's — the peanuts. There's really nothing that caps off the Five Guys experience more than eating a handful or two of free salty peanuts while waiting for your burger and fries. Designed to keep the hungry customer occupied and content instead of awkwardly watching the employees work (via Taste of Home), the salty snacks are pretty addictive. 

So much so that you might want to either order them directly from Five Guys' distributor (unveiled at their Twitter page), or maybe you thought of smuggling some free peanuts out the door in your paper bag or empty soda cup — after all, if something is free, isn't it the best time to stock up on it? As it would turn out, though, that may not be such a good idea.

Of course, there's no one to really say you can't do it. You certainly wouldn't find yourself getting a stern talking-to from the manager or upset anyone by taking a few handfuls of the many, many peanuts to snack on during the ride home. It may sound like some sort of unspoken rule, but Five Guys recommends you leave those nuts in the restaurant to keep others –and the company itself — safe from any unwanted problems. 

Five Guys wants to avoid triggering peanut allergies

According to The Daily Meal, the reason Five Guys prohibits removing peanuts from the premises is to ensure that no one with a peanut allergy comes into contact with them. Although the company admits that it is rare that simple contact with peanuts could cause a severe allergic reaction, they still want to limit the risk of causing an unfortunate health issue. 

While you may think Five Guys is being too cautious, the burger chain is indeed a big risk for those allergic to peanuts or peanut-based products. All fries at Five Guys are fried in 100% peanut oil. Certain menu items, such as milkshakes, have even been found to contain traces of peanuts or peanut oils, according to the online nutritional spreadsheet (via Five Guys). A 2017 case involving a 23-year-old man dying from an allergic reaction after eating Five Guys (as noted by Allergic Living) perhaps only added to the increased concern in the already peanut-filled restaurant. 

There are some, such as author and speaker Stan Phelps, that have criticized Five Guys for still continuing to offer peanuts when they know the risks, and a Change.org petition was created to try and convince the chain to make their restaurants more hospitable to those with food allergies. Even though these are fair and valid criticisms, free peanuts have always been a part of the brand and they may be hesitant to change what they see as a good business model.