7 False Things Five Guys Tried To Make Us Believe

Who doesn't love Five Guys? Everyone seemingly wants a piece of this wholesome, family-run burger franchise. It is, after all, in the top 25 fastest growing franchises in America (via QSR). It's such a cute name, too, one that kind of sounds like it should be a 1950s jingle.

But nothing in this world is without a bit of controversy, if we have to be honest. You can't make an omelet without cracking a few eggs, after all, or a milkshake without ice cream. And if you have secrets, like a "hush-hush" secret menu or some kind of shady or at least not totally up-front marketing tactics, the public will ultimately find out about it.

Even Five Guys has had a few things it hasn't been entirely honest about over the years. So what kind of things has this restaurant chain been hiding behind those big bags of potatoes? While we're at it, are they even real bags of potatoes, or are they just there for show? Read on to find out if everything you thought you knew about Five Guys is a lie. Who knows what you might find? Maybe they should change the name to Five Guys Pulls the Wool Over Your Eyes ...

The business represents five actual guys

Perhaps Jerry Murrell should have thought twice (or is that five times?) before naming his restaurant after the number of people in his family business who happen to have a Y chromosome in their genetic makeup. Why? As the old adage goes, change is the only constant. And you know what sometimes happens to family units? They change. And such change even came for the very name of Five Guys itself.

This burger biz used to represent Murrell and his four sons: Jim, Matt, Chad, and Ben (via Thrillist). The name suited the growing restaurant quite well, or at least it did until little Tyler showed up. His appearance turned the five guys into six. 

Could Five Guys really change their name to Six Guys Burgers and Fries? If they changed it now, it would be like Burger King switching over to Burger Prince or Habit Burger Grill becoming Hamburger Choices. Six Guys arguably wouldn't garner as much attention as the rather more catchy "Five Guys Burgers and Fries." At any rate, Murrell can claim that it's all about his five sons now, even if that's not what he initially meant.

You're limited to the menu

If you don't want to budge when it comes to broadening your taste bud horizons, you can just order off of the normal Five Guys menu that bedecks the polished black and white tile walls

Now, if you're an adventurous Five Guys fan and in the know thanks to some savvy Googling, then never fear. You, too, can be one of the special few that can take advantage of the burger joint's secret menu

Secret menu? Really? Yep, like so many other fast food chains, Five Guys has one, and you're really missing out if you're not investigating this side of the foodie world. There are the nacho-style fries, for one. If you're a vegetarian, they'll even do a riff on a BLT, but instead of bacon, just ask employees to use those umami-laden grilled mushrooms instead. Really want to weird out the people waiting in line? Just order a Thai lettuce wrap, though you may need to do some explaining first (via Thrillist). With the Five Guys secret menu, the possibilities are nearly endless.

Five Guys doesn't advertise

Now, it's sort of true that Five Guys does not advertise. It's not that they don't have the funding for it. Instead, it's more that they want to stay true to their roots and let the food and experience do the talking. After all, the burger restaurant grew from a small joint in a strip mall to a behemoth burger chain simply by word of mouth (via Five Guys).

In an interview with Retail & Hospitality Hub (via Supply Chain World), Five Guys senior director of global logistics Jason Lee confirms the chain's refusal to engage in standard advertising. "We don't do any advertising, promotions, limited-time offers or traditional marketing. We have total faith that the product markets itself," he says. However, many argue that this is itself a form of advertising. One former employee on Quora takes it a step further by divulging the following ad strategy implemented by Five Guys: that greasy brown paper bag. "A big thing to Five Guys was word of mouth advertisement," they say, "Paper bags are a big part of word of mouth advertising."

That greasy, brown paper bag sans logo is meant to set Five Guys apart from other fast-casual dining establishments. "One of the most fascinating things I ever learned about Five Guys was their advertising techniques," wrote the employee. "They also don't use a bag with their logo on it because they feel like they don't have to."

Those peanuts are just complimentary snacks

Isn't it sweet that Five Guys is so invested in curbing your hunger? While you're forced to wait the practically unbearable stretch of 10 minutes as your order is being prepared, you can at least snack on handy bins of peanuts, though you'll have to shell them yourself. It seems like they've thought of everything to make you comfortable, except the seating. But are these complementary legumes really just because Five Guys is worried you might experience tummy grumbles?

Maybe. But according to this former employee who spilled the peanuts on Reddit, those treats are actually meant for the comfort of the employees. No one likes a nosey Nancy staring them down while they're trying to prepare fast food in a diligent, properly cooked, and sanitary way. But if looky-loo customers are distracted by the free snacks all around them, employees can hopefully work in peace.

So, enjoy the peanuts. But while you're busy munching, know that it's meant to keep your prying eyes away from intimidating the hardworking staff. No one likes being micromanaged, after all, even in an open kitchen. The next time you go into Five Guys, just sit back and continue to enjoy those little nutty tidbits of happiness and know that your meal is being prepared by burger-educated professionals.

The fry servings are as big as you think

If you're a fry lover, chances are you've been to Five Guys. That's because the portions of fried potatoes they give you are notoriously ginormous. It's more like a pile of fries, and not a single-sized serving. Instead, those fries routinely fall out of their serving cup and into the bag, creating that recognizable greasy bag look that's Five Guys' signature. So, the following information might crush your french-fry loving heart.

But Five Guys workers have spilled the real truth: the larger-than-life fry count is actually just an optical illusion. According to a former employee writing on Reddit, those who are in charge of the fry station are instructed to overfill the fries on purpose. This "topper" method means that you see a bunch of fries going into the bag and spilling out of the serving cup, but it's hardly breaking the bank for Five Guys (via Pop Sugar).

In short, the cup is just a gimmick to make it look like you're getting more bang for your buck (or taters for your dollar). Yes, it's still a lot of fries —possibly enough to feed a small army of kids — but not nearly as much as you think.

Five Guys toppings are free

Nothing in life is free. Neither are fast food toppings, even at Five Guys. Restaurant owners go to great lengths to calculate the cost of food, labor, and other important factors when operating a dining establishment. It's worth remembering that condiments, in general, aren't too expensive, although they could seemingly break the bank at Five Guys. That's because the chain is dedicated to using premium ingredients like fresh burger meat (via Insider). 

But "free" still isn't exactly right when we're talking about Five Guys toppings. That's because things like those apparent freebies are calculated into the overall price of the food. They're just labeled "free" because it sounds good. People like a good deal, it makes customers feel special, and it all comes off as a good marketing tactic.

This is also one of the reasons why Five Guy's prices are a bit higher than the standard fast-casual restaurant. You're getting what you pay for — which, sure, includes fresh premium products — but you're also paying for what you don't necessarily get (those jalapeños will get ya). So next time you go to Five Guys, get all the toppings you want and then some — because you're already paying for them, whether you want to or not.

They refuse to deliver

Is it true that Five Guys will never delve into the world of delivery? Kind of. Sort of. Well, maybe? While it's ostensibly true that Five Guys doesn't deliver, that truth only goes so far now. But back in the day, we can confirm that no less an office than the Pentagon called in a delivery order to the fast food joint. Yet founder Jerry Murrell flat out refused, citing "we don't deliver," even when an admiral personally called to press the matter. After all, who could be bothered to deliver 15 hamburgers to the Pentagon when you work at a restaurant where every hour is like a lunch rush on steroids? It was also apparently something of an ethical stand to deny delivery overall. "We think it cheapens the product," Murrell later told QSR.

That being said, to quell the requests for burger deliveries and to help food delivery businesses operating during the era of COVID-19, Five Guys recently opened up their first-ever ghost kitchen, reports Restaurant Dive. A ghost kitchen is a food prep location that's set up to only cater to takeout meals. There's no storefront and no seating, cutting out a portion of the business that was widely decimated by the initial waves of the pandemic. 

So, this may be a falsehood now, but it's not so bad if you're feeling like a couch potato. Look at how much Five Guys actually cares about you people sitting at home wanting to call in your order. Do you feel special now? You should.