Five Guys – Hiring criteria, activities, and benefits to improve corporate culture

As an Employer Brand & EVP award winner, Five Guys is known for having a great corporate culture where employees consider it one of the best places to work among all restaurants. We asked Jerry Murrell (CEO of Five Guys), Erin Roberts (Deputy General Counsel and Chief People Officer), and Molly Catalano (Chief Marketing Officer) questions on how Five Guys builds its corporate culture and what benefits they provide to help employees grow within the business.

Q1: What type of unique or specific criteria do you have when hiring people? 

Jerry Murrell: When we first started we’d give them an apron and have them start working. If they came back the next day, then they were hired. 

Erin Roberts and Molly Catalano: What the Murrells have created at Five Guys is rare and we want to protect it and keep it going. We search for candidates who share and believe in our values:  

  • Fanatical focus on our jobs, take pride in our work, and are goal oriented. 
  • Fanatical focus on team members and developing strong teams. 
  • Stay humble, learn every day, and stay curious. Integrity and take ownership. 
  • Have fun, have high energy, and are always nice. 
  • Experience is nice, but we love to mold raw talent and teach the FIVE GUYS way. Someone with great energy and an enthusiastic outlook 

        Q2: Are there any unique programs that you have that make Five Guys one of the best restaurants to work for currently? 

        Murrell: Investing in our employees is the only way that we think we can operate effectively. 

        Roberts and Catalano: 

        • We have an amazing tuition assistance program that pays full tuition for finance, hospitality or business administration degrees. We also will reimburse up to $5,250 a year for other bachelor’s degrees. We offer English as a second language or GED programs too. To be eligible you have to be a manager or have been an hourly employee that has worked 32 hours a week for the past 52 weeks. 
        • Five Guys Games: We like to have fun and we show it. Every two years, we have a system-wide competition where store employees compete head-to-head in a variety of Five Guys skills such as cheese stacking and potato cutting. The winner of this competition takes home $50k. 
        • We cherish work-life balance by not only creating a supportive and family culture but also adjusting schedules to fit personal family-friendly hours. 
        • We are a fast-growing global company that equals advancement opportunities 

          Q3: Are there any specific activities that employees can participate in to learn Five Guys’ corporate culture and grow within the business?

          Roberts and Catalano: 

          • We have a Secret Shopper Program which every week, every location has a mystery shop two times per week. Everyone working on those shifts is eligible to share in the secret shopper bonus money when they score a top score. 
          • Five Guys University & the leadership training program provides consistent training to our employees to learn our corporate culture and grow within the business
          • We have a LDX Program where employees can spend time working in a different department to expand their knowledge of the business. 

            Q4: Has your corporate philosophy for caring for your employees helped in any way to reduce employee turnover? 

            Roberts and Catalano: Like all retail businesses or all businesses in general, staffing has been a challenge in some markets. It has improved but we are still in it with everyone else. We think the shortage is generally an outside influence, but we will continue to double down on doing right by our employees so they want to stay. I would say that our best recruiters are our employees who can share their experience with others. 

            Q5: What would you do if you were in a situation where you had to take over a company that was struggling to invest in its employees?

            Murrell: Although keeping margins up is important, you cannot succeed by hurting your employees in this line of work. It is also very difficult to rebuild corporate culture and therefore, I would sell the company as an exit plan.  


            Read the full Restaurant Leadership Edition 

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