April 12, 2011
The East Coast vs. West Coast rivalry is heating up again, and this time it smells delicious. Since migrating westward into the Golden State, Five Guys Burger and Fries has been aggressively expanding its market, causing speculation over the effect it will have on California native, In-N-Out Burger.
The Los Angeles Times wrote last week that one In-N-Out customer passed up her longtime favorite burger joint for Five Guys. "We chose this over In-N-Out," she said, noting that she liked the East Coast chain's fresh, flavorful burgers and hand-cut fries.
Recently, Five Guys burgers beat In-N-Out on Zagat's 2010 Fast Food Survey, and restaurant industry analyst Steve West said, "They will definitely be a competitor to In-N-Out. The prices are comparable and the product is comparable." And though Five Guys doesn't offer drive-thru service, they do make up for it with free peanuts! West said, "They're going to probably take market share from In-N-Out. Will they supplant In-N-Out? I don't think so....In-N-Out is so cultish in Southern California, it's going to be hard to break that habit."
As for the competition coming into their backyard, In-N-Out isn't planning to make any changes. "We've been focusing on the same thing for 62 years," Executive Vice President Carl Van Fleet told the newspaper. "Freshness, quality and cleanliness in our restaurants. We're just going to continue doing what we do."
With new and unique burger joint popping up all over the place (Fatburger, Smashburger, etc.), especially in San Diego, there may be more for these two burger chains to worry about than each other. So chime in, and let us know where you stand on the ongoing burger wars.