Background: Five Guys started in Arlington, Virginia in 1986 by a father and his four sons. They have over 700 stores in the U.S. and plan to have 1,000 by the end of the year. They only serve fresh ingredients, nothing is frozen. Hand crafted patties, homemade buns, freshly cut fries that are bought from American farms. They keep to a simple menu. Burgers with free toppings and the most insane amount of fries that are dumped into the bag when your order number is called. Their ad model includes NO advertising, NO discounts or coupons, just Five Guys. They have become a well-known fast casual restaurant through word of mouth. President Obama took a fellow congressman to lunch at Five Guys and sales went up. Professional basketball players talk about them in press conferences and sales go up. They are dependent on the word of their consumers (and famous people) to advertise for them.
Challenge: Create a Word of Mouth campaign WITHOUT advertising.
The Situation: People LOVE Five Guys.
“I LOVE IT! The quality of the meat is better than most places around here.” “I love Five Guys! The fries are on point!” “The little bacon cheeseburger! Yeeesss.” Five Guys offers high quality, freshly made food that has become the main focus of word of mouth created around the brand. However, their fast casual competitors focus on their high quality, freshly made food too.
If competitors are talking about the product, and Five Guys is talking about the product, and Five Guys consumers are creating word of mouth about the product, what else is there to talk about?
The Opportunity: Five Guys knows that their product is not the only good thing about their brand.
The founder, Mr. Murrell, believes that the most important person is the food critic. The food critic to him is every single consumer that walks into a store everyday.
300,000 consumers in a database are randomly selected to rank/judge their experience at Five Guys. Results from secret shoppers are used to rank stores nationwide; stores with highest rankings give rewards to employees at that store.
People have gotten rid of “Burgers and Fries” in their name when they talk about them. They know Five Guys as “Five Guys” not “Five Guys Burgers and Fries”. Consumers already see them as a people’s brand, not just a brand with an awesome product.
The opportunity is with the PEOPLE. Right now, word of mouth is created when people talk about the product. Five Guys needs to create word of mouth that gets people to talk about themselves
Now: WORD OF MOUTH Needs to be: WORD OF MOUTH
Even though Five Guys will have 1,000 stores by the end of the year, people still have to travel 20-30 minutes to get to the closest one. Thatâ€™s why people get REALLY excited when they find out a Five Guys is coming to their town. We want people to create word of mouth about themselves. What better way to do that than with a competition that makes them compete amongst themselves to have the next Five Guys in their town?
How it Works: First, we have to get the word out (without advertising). Someone within the Five Guys corporation would make an announcement on their facebook page. Someone within the corporation would also start a twitter feed announcing the competition. Both would lead people to the Five Guys website. One of three things could happen when people get the website:
They register their town.
Their town is already registered, so they sign up with that town.
They already have a Five Guys in their town.
They register their town.
Their town is already register, so they sign up with that town.
How They Win: Contestants will use their virtual toolbox (downloadable once you register) to compete through Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. Their tweet, status, or youtube video will be judged in multiple different ways. - 1 point per tweet; 2 points per re-tweet - 1 point per facebook tag - 1 point per view of a YouTube video; - Also, subjective judging for a YouTube video (i.e. If someone uploads a video with a song and someone else uploads a video with a song and a music video, the person with the song and music video would get more points because the Five Guys judges liked it better). Judges will be a team from the Five Guys corporation and points will be tallied on the townâ€™s profile on the website. The winning town will not only get a Five Guys, but their winning hashtags and Facebook statuses will be hung in the store.
Future: Move the competition to college campuses. Who wants a Five Guys on their college campus?