Five Guys vs. In-N-Out – The Winner is…

Five Guys vs. In-N-Out

Five Guys vs. In-N-OutI visited a Five Guys Burgers & Fries for the first time in Spokane, WA back in 2011. I have been eating at In-N-Out since maybe the mid-90s. From my experience, I don’t think Five Guys lives up to the hype.  The burgers are good, but the fries and overall experience fall short.

There are two reasons for the hype around Five Guys. First, In-N-Out Burger does not franchise. Second, Five Guys has a good P/R person. Allow me to explain…Five Guys seems to have copied the In-N-Out business model to a tee. 

The business model differences between Five Guys and In-N-Out

  • In-N-Out is family-owned and therefore their growth is slower and concentrated to the western part of the county (limiting its media coverage, especially on a national level). 
  • Five Guys on the other hand has chosen to franchise its concept, which has allowed it to grow at a much faster pace—and, throughout the nation.

In-N-Out vs. Five GuysThe second part of the “hype” equation is public relations. Five Guys clearly has an experienced P/R person driving the media to talk about its company—it reminds me of how Cold Stone Creamery generated coverage back in its heyday.

Like I said, the burgers at Five Guys are certainly good, but the fries are cut too large, which gives them a “doughy (too much potato)” consistency.  In-N-Out fries are thinner, crispier and far superior.  I would say for taste, the Five Guys burger might just edge out In-N-Out, but when you consider the price is at least double that of In-N-Out…In-N-Out wins again.  As far as service: every time I’ve been to an In-N-Out there seems to be a level of excitement when you enter—their people appear well-trained and are very friendly. 

Categories:               Winner:

Burger                         Five Guys

Fries                            In-N-Out

Service                        In-N-Out

Experience                  Toss Up

Value                           In-N-Out

Tip: If you go to Five Guys, order the Little Burger and Regular fries…NO human should consume as much food in one sitting as is served with the regular burger and large fry.  It amazes me that a restaurant would consider serving so much food to a person for a single meal—looking at many of the patrons, you’ll see the evidence of such a practice. At In-N-Out, I order my burgers “Protein Style,” which means no bun, just wrapped in iceberg lettuce.

Bottom Line: In the fast food burger wars, the top two contenders are without question Five Guys and In-N-Out Burger. In this humble critics opinion, the overall winner is In-N-Out.

What say you?  I’d like to hear your opinion…please post a comment below.

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Mike Shubic

Mike Shubic is a seasoned road trip travel video blogger, traversing the byways of the world looking for those hidden gems of the road. From unique destinations, unexpected discoveries, creative cuisine, intriguing inns to exciting attractions…the road is his page. The experiences are his ink. And every 300 miles, a new chapter begins. Whether you live vicariously or by example, Mike will do the exploring so you can have an adventure.


  1. And I love the In-N-Out chocolate shakes. Glad we have them here in AZ. I visit it when I have to go to Lowe’s.

  2. Hype for real. Heard they were a strong competitor to In-N-Out so I wanted to give them a try. Thumbs down from two in their 30s and a 13 year old boy. Plus the price $5 burgers! The rapid expansion reminds me of Krispy Kreme.

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