Today, I’d like to make a comparison of two popular hamburger chains that have been around for a while, but are fairly new to my area. I’ve finally had a chance to taste them both, and so I offer my review of In-N-Out Burger (www.in-n-out.com) vs. Five Guys Burger and Fries (www.fiveguys.com)
Let’s start with comparing the burger…
Their claim is that their ingredients are never frozen. The burger tastes very fresh. The patties are smaller than Five Guys, but satisfying. The price is considerably lower than Five Guys too.
I made a mistake of ordering a cheeseburger with onion. The onion was just fine, but I wasn’t expecting it to be as thick as the beef patty! I found that a very unusual tactic to serve it that way, and was turned off by too much of a good thing.
Their claim is that everything is cooked in 100% peanut oil. In fact, you will find warnings on the doors advising you not to enter the building if you have peanut allergies. Their prices are almost triple what In-N-Out charges.
The beef almost seems hand pressed to me – not consistently cut and measured. I could be wrong on that, but I can certainly say that their serving is more generous. It also seems juicier. Five guys serves the burger wrapped in aluminum foil, and it retains its juices. The peanut oil gives it a good, unique flavor.
Other thoughts – Carl’s Jr. serves a “Ranch Burger” for $1, of comparable size to In-N-Out. It doesn’t taste as fresh, but my experience with the onion overload may have turned me off a little and built a bias against In-N-Out.
My Vote: Five Guys has the better tasting burger. For the money, In-N-Out is the better bargin. Just hold the onions!
And how about the Fries…
They offer two kinds of fries – regular and (my favorite) Cajun (Cajun is not really spicy, just seasoned). Their potatoes cooked in 100% peanut oil. These are the kind of fries I really get into. Fresh Cut. Thick. Seasoned just right. A very nice touch is that they have a white board in the store telling you where the potatoes came from. It doesn’t enhance the product necessarily, but is kind of fun to know that the spuds being served today came from Sugar City, Idaho.
I was not impressed with their fries at all. There is very little substance – shoe string potato fried up so that it seems like you are eating some processed food.
Winner: An easy choice for me: Five Guys.
While Five Guys features approximately five pleasant but typical fast-food employees running the restaurant, I was fascinated to watch about 30 people scrambling around like worker bees at In-N-Out. Everyone facing the public had a smile on their face (though I noticed a few in the very back of the kitchen that were not smiling – perhaps they were concentrating). I saw one employee stop for about 10 seconds and visit with another employee, and they both still maintained their cheery smile. They wear white clothing, and a couple people just keep patrolling the place, picking up trash and keeping it spotless. It reminded me of Disneyland. I’m sure the payroll is higher, but their attention to detail and service was phenomenal! I’m pretty certain this comes from their being a private company, rather than a franchise.
Customer Service: In-N-Out
Overall – If cost is no concern, Five Guys has better tasting food. But because I’m a cheapskate, I’d pick up the Cajun fries at Five Guys, head over to In-N-Out, and enjoy some burgers and the show.