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Mar 9, 2011 11:57 AM

Five Guys and Well Done Burgers

I would still like a reasonable explanation of why they only cook well-well-well done. Apparently, when asked, 5G corporate answers "no comment".

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  1. well its a fast food franchise i mean if you walk into mcdonalds or burger ing you cant say medium rare please, it comes how it comes....i think 5 guys does it perfect, even though i really only have experience with one location, hopefully this staff is just as good

    20 Replies
    1. re: ryanallday

      Well, I've tried 5G at 3 different locations, and they were all consistently putrid. What their MO seems to be is grill the burger for 20 minutes, hope you'll fill up on peanuts, and then overload the burger with condiments that will mask the putridness. They won't be seeing me again.

      Seems like they are quite popular though. But were that a measuring stick, McD's would be #1, they sell billions of burgers yearly. And McD's probably has staunch defenders on CH as well.

      1. re: ryanallday

        I've been to 3 different locations of 5g, and they were all consistently putrid.

        What their MO seems to be is cook the burger for 20 minutes on the grill, hope you fill up on peanuts, and overload the condiments to mask the taste of the burger.

        But they are popular. If that were a measuring stick, McD's would be the top burger because of the billions of burgers that they sell daily. But McD's are the epitome of putridness, frozen burgers culled from over 100 steer each! (Yuk!)

        But I'm sure, as with 5g, McD's will also have their staunch defenders here on CH...

        1. re: menton1

          Menton, it is ironic I have been to 2 different five guys previous to last night. My first two experiences I was dumbfounded on way so many people enjoyed thier food. The overload of slopy condiments and almost soaked through bun , did nothing except give me heatburn. (notice there wasn't any comment on how the meat taste because it didnt even come through) ...

          Then a local branch open opened up and I was forced to eat with my younger cousins(last night). To my surprise was darn right tasty. The meat was not burnt to a crisp (still not med , but it is fastfood and some place have llegal issues with meat). The toppings were not overpowering and sloppy. Bun was lightly toasted and still airy not soaked down.

          I cannot say I will be a regular at 5g , but last night for a brief moment I did get the craze.

          1. re: menton1

            "What their MO seems to be is cook the burger for 20 minutes on the grill,"

            While it may take 20 minutes to get your order, there is no way the burger sat on the grill 20 minutes.

            I used to check 5 Guys franchise locations for compliance with corporate standards. I have a copy of the training burger cooking video, as well. The 'standard' for 5Guys locations is to serve the burger within 10 minutes of the order being placed. The actual cooking time from raw meat to fully cooked is approximately 4-6 minutes. The burgers are to be cooked well done, but juicy. The grill man can only even the burger out with the patty press one time after flipping. Burgers go through three areas of the griddle during the cooking process.

            That said, I prefer burgers rare and would never order one at 5 Guys for that reason. It is virtually impossible to cook burgers that thin to assorted wellnesses. Dealing with raw ground beef (never frozen), cooking to well done avoids a great deal of potential health problems and the associated lawsuits or illnesses.

            So, this is an explanation, not a defense of 5 Guys. I do however love their fries, and when my 14 year old wants to eat there, I order a hot dog.

            1. re: bagelman01

              The bit about lawsuits and avoiding health problems is a pure guess on your part. 5Guys has always absolutely refused to give a reason for their insistence on well done burgers.

              I can walk into any neighborhood pub and get a rare burger. I've had steak tartare many times at French restaurants. Never got sick, never heard of anybody suing these Pubs.

              But yes, people love 5Guys. People also love McD's. Putrid, both.

              1. re: menton1

                a pure guess on my part, not so. Unfortunately the confidentiality agreement I signed 4 years ago does not allow me to give direct quotes.
                But, my Juris Doctor degree and experience will let me tell you that suits against a large company that franchises and is perceoved to have deep pockets are more likely to be filed than against you neighborhood pub..............

                1. re: menton1

                  Menton Fast Food places are all about creating the same experience at every location. And doing this in the most effiencent fool proof manner.... I would never expect to get a rare , med rare, burger at any fast food place.. Not even at a chain place..

                  I personally do not see the huge lure of 5 guys , but is much much better than McD's-- comes down to realistic expectations..

                  1. re: Augie6

                    If you have a Smashburger near you, try it. A chain, MUCH MORE consistent than 5G, and they will cook to your temperature request.

                    A medium rare burger is a "different experience" than a well done one? With that logic, maybe your MO of a chain also means coffee only one way, maybe 2 sugars and some whole milk. You want Splenda? Can't have it here, not consistent!!

                    If being better than McD's was a criterion for a good restaurant, we've really sunk to 20,000 leagues below the sea...

                    1. re: menton1

                      Menton we are in agreement about 5guys, I wish I was able to try a Smashburger, checked out website and looks neat.

                      Its just we are talking about a fast food chain... They are in the business to make a quick inexpensive meal as effienct and fast as possible. I am sure 5guys core customers are not concerned with rare or med rare burgers.

                      1. re: Augie6

                        I suppose not, just as the millions who patronize McD's every day don't care that the meat in one burger is culled from over 100 steer! (Yuk!)

                      2. re: menton1

                        If you have a Smashburger near you, try it. A chain, MUCH MORE consistent than 5G, and they will cook to your temperature request.

                        Really? They've never honored a request for medium-rare in my experience (albeit limited).

                        I've known people who've opted for the chicken at Smashburgers b/c all the burgers are cooked well-done.

                  2. re: bagelman01

                    "The burgers are to be cooked well done, but juicy."...?¿?

                    1. re: byrd

                      a direct lifting from the secret shopper form used by the company who previously had the contract with 5 Guys corporate. "was the burger well done but juicy?" is the only acceptable answer for the franchise being shopped. "Well done and dry" or "Not well done" were failing grades which brought more frequent secret shops for complainace and possible sanctions from the franchisor.

                    2. re: bagelman01

                      Bagelman how could one get a copy of the training burger cooking video?

                      1. re: Mark_K123

                        unless you were hired by a shopping company and given access in your training you would not get one without subjecting the giver to legal action.
                        The shopper signs an agreement not to share training material.

                        1. re: bagelman01

                          I understand perfectly. Thanks.

                          Are you able to share more info about the three cooking zones?

                          1. re: Mark_K123

                            In general, the raw patty goes onto the righ hand third of the flattop and cooks part way. It is then flipped over into the middle zone and the patty press is used once to flatten and even the patty. When about 2/3 cooked to well, it is moved to the left hand thid of the grill to finish cooking. You will see the grill man use the side of a spatula to cut into the patty to make sure it is well done (a practice I abhor). The finished burger is supposed to be well done, but juicy.

                            1. re: bagelman01

                              "Juicy" comes from the fat content. Still tastes like juicy cardboard. And they want you to overwhelm the burnt taste with overuse of condiments. Well done, bah humbug.

                              1. re: bagelman01

                                Thanks again, I appreciate your help.

                                I wonder if they start with a cooler surface first and then the heat is higher in the middle zone ( to create a sear)

                                I'm with you, the practice of cutting into the meat makes the cook look like they don't know what they are doing. I've seen them cut into the meat while it's being cooked, I'm not sure why they wouldn't employ a digital thermometer that would do better job. Meat sometimes can turn gray without ever reach 160.

                                I think I'd love a job as a secret shopper, could you tell me if one should contact the company directly or do you need be employed by a company that provides this service. Thanks Again for your help!

                                1. re: Mark_K123

                                  A meat thermometre would be ineffective in a thin patty.

                                  You never contact the company directly to be a secret shopper, they employ outsiders so employees don't know who is the shopper and when the shop takes place.

                                  The video was supplied by a company that no longer does 5 Guys. I believe the current company doing the shops is called M*rk*tf*rce, you fill in the vowels.


                    It is a Franchise. It is fast food. They have attorneys who advise them what to do.

                    1. Five Guys is a chain and is fast-food and I have never even considered the temperture of my burger. I have probably had 20 burgers at various locations in the DC/Baltimore area over the last 10 years or so and I suppose since they did not ask and since it is fast-food, I just went along with the program. While I am a fan and love the fries, I have to limit myself to the junior burger. The adult size is too much grease for me. They are good, but they are not a Rays or Good Stuff.

                      1. The reason is, like the afore mentioned 4-star McD's, BK, etc, they don't trust the retards, teenagers, etc. to do a medium burger. Sure they can at say, AppleBees, but the big burger joints are all about prepared, prepacked-type food. It limits lawsuits as well (CYA). Do you think you'd actually find a Chef at Burger King? I've worked in some low spots, but for those with a culinary background, Chili's and AppleBees are the bottom.

                        1. and they are FAST food, so they don't have time to specifically cook burgers for1000 people at lunch time. Everyone gets the same, and it speeds things up.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: TarzanGo

                            Smashburger, a big burger chain, will cook to temperature. Kinda blows that argument out of the water, eh?