How Flipping Burgers At Five Guys Today Has Made Me A Better Marketer
I’ve been creating content and managing the Facebook Page for Five Guys Burgers and Fries in Michigan for a couple months now - I’ve been a fan of Five Guys ever since my buddy Rob took me to one in Virginia when I was visiting I’d say about 12 years ago - years before they popped up in Michigan. I’ve been eating a plant based diet now for a year and a half but I haven’t stopped eating at Five Guys because of the fries. Oh those FRIES! They are incredible - especially the cajun fries. So when the opportunity came to work with these folks in Michigan I was excited - it’s a brand I have always been impressed with.
One of the initiatives Five Guys had in mind when they approached me was to use Facebook to find the best crew members for their 30 locations across Michigan with the job posting tools available. I had not done this before and job postings on Facebook are relatively new for the platform, but it makes a ton of sense. If you think about it and take it a step further, part of building a community online should include building one that not only appeals to the customers to increase sales and grow the business, but one that appeals to the very best potential employees to……wait for it……increase sales and grow the business! After all how can you do the first without the second?
Let’s go back a couple months…
When Kelly from the Five Guys Michigan group and I met for a discovery meeting a couple months ago she gave me the basics of the brand and what their challenges were. It was a very productive meeting and we were able to put together a game plan. Two months later we had added 600 new followers to the Facebook page and were getting regular applications coming in for crew members at various locations we had posted positions for. I came up with a fun series called “Michigan Mondays” (the name was voted on by followers of the page - it was between that and “Mitten Mondays”) where we are now highlighting fun facts in various cities around Michigan where Five Guys Burgers and Fries restaurants are located. Michigan Mondays have been well received and we have been getting plenty of engagement on various posts, even getting close to 1000 likes on a recent photo of a lettuce wrap that the main Five Guys twitter account had pulled from an Instagrammer. Everything was going great, but I felt a little something was missing…
I spent time on the Five Guys website and researching articles and reviews around the web and I was instant messaging Kelly all the time to ask questions and bounce new ideas off of her that I had for content. The challenge was pinning Kelly down for more info as my wheels were turning because she’s just flat out BUSY. She hired me to do this and she had a big stack of tasks on her plate. It was fine - part of it was a sign that she trusted me and didn’t feel the need to hold my hand while I created content and managed the growing online community, along with the job postings and the effectiveness of the dollars being spent with the right geography and demographics. The problem was I still felt I was guessing and assuming on things that I could learn by being onsite at least for a little time. One of the main thrusts of our strategy as I mentioned before was to find good people for the Five Guys teams at the restaurants, not just customers to eat there, and while I knew what it was like to be a customer I didn’t know what it was like to be an employee at a Five Guys. I needed to be able to post in a voice for the brand that was informed by why it was a great place to work, not just to eat. I wanted to know how they on-boarded a new employee, and I wanted to experience what makes them different as an employee would tell it from experience. So, I suggested that I meet her at one of the locations and go through some training - she loved the idea - she said she’d get me in there right on the line flippin’ burgers - I said AWESOME!
Getting more than I bargained for
Let’s just say I have a whole new appreciation for my client and and I learned a TON from this experience. When I showed up before they opened the crew manager had the crew members gathered around him as he held up a French fry - they were examining that fry like it was a rare specimen of some living thing found deep in a rainforest rarely seen by man. Kelly walked me through the whole process of how they source the potatoes, what the firmness and consistency needs to be of a fry (after soaking them vigorously in a super expensive system that removes excess starch) after the precook or blanching process and so on…. Let’s just say there’s way more to it and they are SERIOUS about their fries. Obsessively serious. Actually that’s how they approach everything there, from the timing of moving the food through the process so that it all comes out perfectly timed, perfectly fresh, and perfectly made to order - every time. Crew members are yelling around the kitchen in what amounts to a sort of “Five Guys language” and the energy is palpable - such passion! It was flat out exciting to be a part of. Kelly had me flipping, pressing, and serving up burgers (with NO filler or additives in those burgers) as I yelled “COMING THROUGH!” making my way to the buns - already topped and ready for the patties. Oh, and those buns? Proprietary and in a way the real secret weapon there - they taste like challah… YUM!
A Lesson for all Marketers - especially freelancers…
I left there feeling energized in a way I didn’t quite anticipate. I really feel like part of the team at Five Guys in a way that I couldn’t if I hadn’t put on the uniform and gotten in the game. If you don’t think doing something like this will help to inform how you think and feel when you’re creating content and posting for your client on Facebook or anywhere else online you’re nuts. You’ll just think in a way that is more closely aligned with the brand. EVERY digital marketer should do something of this sort with their client! I’ll take it a step further and say any business looking to hire someone to speak, create and post on their behalf (especially if they are outsourcing it and not hiring someone in house) should REQUIRE this. If you’re going to give the keys to your social media to someone and place your brand perception in their hands make darn sure they know understand the message and know your business - make sure they have LIVED it, even just for a little while.
M10 Social is owned by Doug Cohen in West Bloomfield, MI and provides social media training and digital marketing services from the Frameable Faces Photography studio Doug owns with his wife Ally. He can be reached there at tel:248-790-7317, by mobile at tel:248-346-4121 or via email at mailto:email@example.com.