Five Guys’ Marketing Strategy: A Customer Review Analysis

Sheila Bugal on September 9, 2022
Feedback Analysis

Five Guys caters to burger lovers seeking high-quality food and friendly service – all while keeping things simple. To understand how Five Guys operates its successful marketing strategy, we analyzed 1,236 Google Map reviews using the text analysis tool, Caplena. The following customer review analysis reveals Five Guys’ three key drivers in-depth – ‘Burgers‘, ‘Price‘, and ‘Customer Service‘.

Three Key Drivers Bar Chart

Three main drivers include burgers, price and customer service.
Figure 1.0

This bar chart shows that the three most important customer feedback categories are: ‘Burgers‘, ‘Price‘, and ‘Customer Service‘. ‘Burgers‘ and ‘Customer Service‘ have mostly positive sentiments associated with them.Price‘ has an overwhelming negative sentiment (read our blog explaining sentiment analysis .)

Category #1: Burgers 🍔

Five Guys spends most of its resources on its product – the food – and only a small amount on marketing. For example, Five Guys’ potatoes are grown north to the 42nd parallel because they grow more slowly and are more solid. Their numerous awards, including first place in the burger category in The Harris Poll’s annual EquiTrend Study also confirm this. Rather than conform to conventional marketing strategies, the company simplified its menu and concentrated on better-tasting meat and fries. They use no frozen articles, preservatives, or chemicals. The driver analysis (learn more about the driver analysis here) below, clearly shows that burgers are the business driving force.

Key Driver Analysis

Price is in the top left of the driver chart (high negative impact). Burgers is in the top right (high positive impact). Customer service is in the low positive impact area.
Figure 1.1

This chart examines the relationships between potential drivers such as the likelihood of a positive recommendation (NPS) or overall satisfaction. Here we can see that customer satisfaction is greatly impacted by ‘Burgers‘.

Five Guys suits their target demographic because when Millennials spend money on food, they expect authenticity, quality, and social media-worthy content. Fast-casual eateries receive 37% of their traffic from this group who are most likely to own multiple devices – as well as shy away from “hard sell” marketing tactics – which Five Guys does not do. Five Guys’ invests so heavily into its core competencies and internal brand marketing, that the customers do the social media and word-of-mouth marketing. 100% organically.

Category #2: Price 💰

Reviews mention pricing as one piece of negative feedback consistently.
Figure 1.2

Much of the customer feedback analyzed found the brand ‘Pricey‘ compared to competitors. To further investigate this, we plotted the top two categories Price and Food against each other in the competitor analysis below. This clarifies the companies positioning within the food industry and explains the higher pricing strategy.

Perceptual Map: Price vs Quality of Food

Five Guys sits in the high price range and is neutral between high quality and low quality food.
Figure 1.3

Is Five Guys’ Pricing Strategy Justified?

Five Guys positions itself to offer a hybrid of ‘fast food’ and a ‘restaurant’ experience, which explains the higher than typical ‘fast food’ prices. Five Guys’ acute competitors include In-N-Out, as well as Shake Shack. Lower-priced competitors include Burger King and McDonald’s. This explains why many reviews categorized the joint as Pricey – because compared to their lower-priced competitors, they are.

Though there is a negative sentiment associated with higher pricing, Five Guys are consciously in this price range. This is an essential part of their positioning strategy – with superior product quality at the brand’s core. Moreover, Five Guys’ target audience is extremely value-driven and most willing to spend more on sustainably sourced food. In short: Five Guys are not lowering their higher prices, because by doing so, they would risk destroying their brand image.

Customer reviews compare Five Guys to  the McDonalds fast-food restaurant.
Figure 1.4

Category #3: Customer Service 👩‍💼

Jerry Murell, Founder of Five Guys

Five Guys invests a lot into keeping its customer service happy and aware of its core mission and values. In turn, this reflects well on their overall image. Internal audits supported by bonuses, open kitchens, and freedom on individual social accounts – are internal marketing efforts intended to communicate Five Guys’ values. In turn, these reflect excellent customer service. Everything Five Guys does in-store is marketing, so it is within their operations that they do the marketing effectively.


It’s all about the overall experience at Five Guys. From how customer service greets you, to how great the burgers taste – even how much they charge. Without this, Five Guys could undermine its reputation and move closer to its lower-quality competitors. For them to remain strong in their current market position, they must continue to invest heavily in their product, their customer service, and stick to their core values. Care to deep dive into the data that made us come to this conclusion? Check out the interactive Caplena dashboard by following the link below:

Here’s the dashboard we made for this blog post 📊

This blog post is reworded from an academic submission by Sheila Bugal.

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