Bon Appetit magazine puts the French in Fries, so when they take a look at fast food, it’s worth paying attention to. Taking a break from the daily grind of foie gras, julienned tomatoes and cilantro-parsley chutney, writer Emily Saladino recently took a look at big fat burgers and their impact–on workers. She found 10 fast food joints that “treat their workers well.” But only one was a national chain–Five Guys Burgers and Fries. Citing praise from the nonprofit organization Restaurant Opportunities Center, Bon Appetit reports that Five Guys has promoted nearly 50% of its workers. And all Five Guys employees receive paid sick leave–not so common for people who work the deep fryer.
The respectful treatment may be due to the fact that Five Guys really is a family-run business–and the family has spent as much time behind the counters as anyone else. Parents of four boys, Jerry and Janie Murrell gave the kids a choice when they were young: start a business with your college money, or go to college with it. The four chose business, the burger business. (The fifth guy is Dad.) They never looked back. Sometimes the heart of a business is the meat and potatoes, and sometimes it’s the way you treat people. Sometimes it’s both.