Why Five Guys Will Never Ask You How You Want Your Burger Cooked

There are 250,000 ways to order a burger at Five Guys, but every single one has this one thing in common.

The Five Guys menu features five main items: milkshakes, fries, hot dogs, sandwiches, and burgers. Although you can customize most of your order to make more than 250,000 possible burger combinations, the one non-customizable thing is burger “doneness.”

Unlike the local diner or restaurant-bar, the cooks at Five Guys make all Five Guys burgers the same way: well done. All 1,500 Five Guys locations only serve burgers at this level of doneness, according to a Five Guys representative. The fast-casual restaurant hasn’t revealed the reasoning behind the policy, but there are a few theories as to why you can’t order a medium-rare, rare, or medium patty. While the truth behind this policy remains a mystery, the chain was not as good at hiding the secret ingredient that makes Five Guys fries so delicious.

The most obvious explanation for why Five Guys burgers are like this is the chain’s commitment to food safety. The health risks of eating raw meat include consuming bacteria such as E. coli and salmonella. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says beef should be cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit to ensure the meat is safe to eat. In 2016, sensors that track temperature were installed in all of the North American Five Guys restaurants to ensure that all ingredients are at a safe temperature, per RFiD Journal. Much like you won’t find an under-cooked burger at Five Guys, you also won’t see a freezer, as the brand only uses coolers because their ingredients must be fresh, according to the official website.

Another theory is simply that cooking all the burgers the same way saves time and keeps everything uniform across all locations. Although Five Guys burgers’ doneness isn’t unique, the numerous delicious toppings such as relish, peppers, onions, barbecue sauce, and more ensure that you can have it just the way you like it. Ever wondered why the chain isn’t named after its one-of-a-kind burgers? Here’s how Five Guys got its name.

Emily DiNuzzo
Emily DiNuzzo is an assistant staff writer at Reader's Digest who previously wrote for INSIDER, the Food Network, POPSUGAR, Well + Good, Westchester Magazine, and more. There's also a 90 percent chance Emily is drinking tea right now, but when she's not writing away about food and health with a cuppa by her side, you can find her lifting heavy things at the gym, listening to murder mystery podcasts, and liking one too many astrology memes.