Why Five Guys WANTS You to Complain About Its Fries

It's not something you hear often in the service industry, but this company wants you to complain.

If you’ve ever been to a Five Guys, you’ve caught a glimpse of the massive heaping of fries customers are treated to. No, it isn’t some supersized order—that’s just the size the founder of the Virginia-based fast food restaurant chain decided was best. And, according to one of the founder’s sons, if you aren’t complaining about the size of those fries, they aren’t doing their jobs right.

Five Guys, named for founder Jerry Murrell and his four sons, has developed quite the reputation in the industry as devoted fans rave about their food and service. The burger chain has now grown to over 1,300 locations worldwide. One of those “five guys,” Murrell’s son Chad, spoke to Food Republic and explained why he wants you to say something about the size of the fries you’re getting.

No, it isn’t because they learn or grow from your complaints. In fact, Five Guys takes pride in the taste and quality of their signature French fries. Every year, Five Guys purchases 140 million pounds of potatoes from Idaho—that’s more than 5 percent of the state’s entire potato output!—to make their incredible fries. Employees at Five Guys locations worldwide hand-cut these potatoes and soak them in water to remove the starch. “You need to blanch the fries to rinse the starch off of them or else the outside will burn up before the inside cooks. It used to take two hours to aggravate them enough to get rid of the starch, but now we’ve got it down to a three-minute power wash,” Murrell told Food Republic.

Five Guys is also well known for frying their potatoes in pure peanut oil to avoid the trans fats and preservatives found in most fast-food French fries. Despite this push to make them healthier per fry, the serving size alone has taken a toll on their overall calorie counts, and Five Guys is home to the unhealthiest order of French fries in America.

So why not downsize the fries? The 24-ounce cup Five Guys packs its fries into is already far larger than any competitor. According to Murrell, the answer is simple. “I won’t name names, but other restaurants just don’t give a satisfying amount of fries. We always give an extra scoop. I say load ’em up and make sure they get their money’s worth,” Murrell says. “[Some] people complain that they get too many fries. I just tell them to make hash browns with the leftovers. I teach my managers that if people aren’t complaining, then you’re not giving them enough.” If you’re going to go the leftover route, you’ll want to know the right way to reheat those fries so they’re just as good as when you first got them.

Isabel Roy
Isabel Roy has been a writer and editor for RD.com since February of 2019. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin La Crosse with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Writing and Rhetoric. She is thrilled to be living and working in the Big Apple although she misses the easy access to freshly made Wisconsin cheese curds and Kopps Custard. When not at the Reader’s Digest office, you can find her downing too many chai lattes and rereading her favorite Harry Potter books.