Why It's Easy For Five Guys Employees To Mess Up The Fries

The iconic red-and-white fast food chain doesn't call themselves Five Guys Burgers & Fries for nothing: Five Guys' fries are one of the most famous items on the menu. The fries are regarded as being some of the tastiest taters in the fast food game (via Insider) — and also some of the least healthy. A large order of fries will run 1,314 calories and 57 grams of fat, per a chart on the company's website.

But at the same time, Five Guys' fries, like everything else on the chain's menu, are made from very deliberately sourced ingredients. Part of the reason Five Guys is so expensive is that all of their ingredients are fresh and high-quality: Much of their beef comes from a fourth-generation family business called Schweid & Sons (via Forbes) and nearly all the chain's potatoes are grown above the 42nd parallel in Idaho, per Inc.

And in fact, the detail about Five Guys' fries that make them beloved is also what makes the fries so easy for workers to screw up.

How Five Guys' famous fry process can go terribly wrong

Next time you go to Five Guys, you might notice giant sacks of potatoes lying around — these aren't decor, they're French fries in waiting. The chain buys 140 million pounds of Idaho potatoes every year, per Food Republic, which are hand-cut, blanched, and partially cooked before being finished in peanut oil.

The fact that Five Guys' fries are prepped by hand rather than arriving frozen can help achieve the goal of a firm texture and mashed potato-esque flavor, per an employee on Reddit. However, in a revelation about what it's really like to work at Five Guys, this also leaves the fries vulnerable to being messed up by a subpar fry guy.

"If the person on the fries station doesn't know what he is doing, they will come out terrible and inconsistent," a former employee wrote on a Reddit thread. In fact, part of the reason Five Guys fries can taste so good is that managers expect cooks to rely more on their senses than on timers (via NBC). The former employee also pointed out that it's not just the newbies: "Even veteran workers" occasionally misjudge fry cook times, oversalt the spuds, or leave them under the heat lamp too long, which can make the fries soggy. "The fries have the potential to be good if the person making them knows what he is doing (which most often isn't the case)," the employee concluded.