Five Guys Burger and Fries

Five Guys was founded in the US in 1986 by Jerry Murrell and his four sons.

In 2013 Five Guys launched in Europe… 

They now have over 90 stores in the UK and are still one of the country’s fastest growing restaurant chains.

Five Guys’ success has been driven by an operationally focused culture that ensures customers get the perfect burger and fries, every time.

Reflecting the brand’s commitment to quality ingredients, the recruitment team have built an employer brand that attracts team members who are ‘made of the Right Stuff’.

The challenge…

Five Guys Challenges

The recruitment team were doing a great job of hiring the talent needed to support growth, but +50% of the people who joined Five Guys were leaving within their first 90 days.

On a personal level, this suggested employees were having a poor on boarding experience – something the People Team wanted to fix. From the business perspective, this turnover also represented a significant cost. And it’s likely that the variable on boarding experience was also having a negative impact on brand perception, the culture of restaurant teams and the customer experience.

Our challenge: to reduce the proportion of new hires leaving within their first 90 days.

What did we do?

We worked a shift to get a personal experience of a first day at Five Guys.

We captured the Five Guys story from their leaders so we could understand the brand values, culture and operating context.

We ran a persona and journey mapping workshop with new hires and store managers from across the business to understand the types of people joining the business, their needs and the moments that matter in the on boarding experience.

We combined these insights with our research into the science of what motivates people at work and designed two interventions:

  • A) Belonging & Significance – making new joiners feel like a valued member of the team
  • B) Fairness & Progress – making new joiners feel like they were learning and being well treated 

We randomly assigned 40 stores to four groups: 10 stores tested the Belonging & Significance intervention (A); 10 tested Progress & Fairness (B); 10 did both (A+B); and 10 were held as a control to account for the trend across the company.

What Five Guys do

We let the interventions run for 5 months to see whether they actually improved 90 day turnover…

The results

Improvement in 90 day turnover…

Five Guys Results

The Belonging & Significance intervention had the biggest impact on 90 day turnover, leading to an average improvement of 23% — this approach is now being adopted across the whole company.

The Progress & Fairness intervention had a negligible impact — what seemed like a good idea, turned out not to deliver value and so wasn’t rolled out.

The biggest challenge in delivering the interventions was compliance – getting store managers to consistently deliver the agreed approach.

Where stores delivered the intervention in full the results were much better. This learning has informed how we scaled the approach; by automating processes and building in ‘just in time’ prompts and training messages to managers, we’re nudging their behaviour in the right direction and continuing to find improvement.

The Pioneers have helped us to design and test an on boarding experience that’s true to our brand, but also completely focused on the needs of our crew members and managers… and we’ve done it in a way that allows us to continue to improve and to demonstrate the value to the business.

Faye Hance, Head of People at Five Guys

Find out more…

The future of work is already here, it’s just unevenly distributed…

If people are the key to success in your industry, then those companies that get their culture right are going to attract and engage the best talent and will enjoy a huge competitive advantage…

… and sooner or later, the companies that continue to ignore clunky employee experiences are going to pay the price.

At The Pioneers we help companies re-engineer their people operating systems (peopleOS) to create cultures where everything flows and where it’s easy for people to work at their best.

If you want to improve the employee experience in your business, start by taking our diagnostic survey to understand which elements of your peopleOS need your attention most.