What The Five Guys Uniform Colors Actually Mean

In a world where restaurant chains are constantly changing up their looks and menus to keep up with trends, Five Guys is the exception. In their 30-plus years, the brand has remained true to their original promise: Serving people the perfect burger (via Five Guys). Sticking to that commitment has proved to work out quite well for the company. During the late 2000s, it was the fastest growing casual chain in the U.S., and, today, they operate 1,700 locations worldwide (via the official website).

Keeping things the same is one of the reasons why, even if you didn't see the logo out front, you can always tell when you're at a Five Guys location. According to Work Stream, the company's business strategy relies on making the food the number-one focus, and as such, the brand's aesthetics are minimalist. The interior of each restaurant location features an open kitchen and a plain red-and-white checkerboard color scheme on the walls. This simplicity is also reflected in the employee uniforms — a casual look consisting of a branded tee and hat and blue jeans. Compared to other restaurant dress codes, it's pretty laid-back. No safety pin aprons, gender-specific hats, or button-down shirts to be found anywhere.

Of course, if you've eaten at a Five Guys location, you might have noticed that not all of the employees behind the counter rock the same color tee. In case you're wondering, no, this isn't random. So what exactly do the colors really mean?

The different color shirts signify an employee's job title

According to The Daily Meal, each shirt an employee wears at Five Guys corresponds to a different job title: Currently, red tees are for regular team members and white shirts are for shift leaders. Per Indeed, present managers get to rock a slightly classed-up look with a black polo, though previously, they wore a grey shirt. An employee posted on the Five Guys Subreddit that it's possible the change may have been made to make it easier for managers to keep their shirts clean, though Five Guys has never publicly made any statement about it. 

The reasoning for the varied color scheme is both for aesthetic and functional purposes. Because Five Guys supervisors and managers often work alongside regular team members, the different shirt colors make it easier for both customers and team members to distinguish who is who. At the same time, the fact that they're all wearing Five Guys merch gives each employee — from cashiers and cooks to management — a clean, unified look.

The different shirt colors are such an integral part of the company culture that many workers use them as unofficial names for the job titles. "How do I become a black shirt?" reads a post by an employee on the Five Guys SubReddit. According to the replies, be the best "red shirt" you can be, and you'll be there in no time.