The Five Guys story – simple learnings for shopper marketers
It’s an amazing story. The startup of a single tiny side street burger bar that became a $3 billion international company.
I listened to the story told by Jerry Murrell, the founder, about the cornerstone of their success. Deceptively simple – they gave customers the best possible product. Early on he allowed his sons (who were the day to day staff, hence ‘five guys’) to pick whatever ingredients would create the best-tasting burgers and fries, regardless of cost.
He never told them the price of ingredients, just asked them to create the best possible burger. They charged a price that made a margin, which was 3 – 4 times what McDonald’s were charging. From that quality experience, customers would come back, and tell friends.
It worked. They kept to a very simple winning formula, based on quality. They even made a virtue of being slower than any other burger place – “there are other quicker burger restaurants nearby” their in-store sign said!
So what’s the lesson? It’s about recognizing then delivering exactly what your customers want, communicated as simply and clearly as possible. Shoppers have lots of choices, lead busy lives, are bombarded many communications of all kinds. To cut through and be memorable, then to create loyalty, we have to offer a distinctive product and clear message about what makes us better.
It why we at Shopper Intelligence are passionate about asking shopper questions. It’s a simple truth. We need to listen to our shoppers. What do they seek? Are they getting it: are we delighting them so they’ll come back again?
As a footnote, I feel in a small way Shopper Intelligence apes the Five Guys story. We invest in our data – a passionate focus on the quality and scale of fieldwork. We know it’s the quality of our benchmarking that keeps clients coming back. We kept it really simple. We only ask the short set of questions refined from years of client feedback on what’s most useful for commercial decisions.
We spend hardly any money on marketing. We rely on our existing clients to spread the word from our tiny startup with our first five clients in Australia in 2007 to more than 100 now in 9 countries. Do a simple thing well; deliver what your customers want. That’s it.