VP of Human Resources for Five Guys gives career advice, job tips
Would you like ketchup with your fries?
This may not be the first question that comes to mind when plotting your hospitality career, but fast food industry experience can play a vital role in grooming you for such success. According to Sara Ortiz, vice president of human resources for Five Guys Enterprises, LLC, where she’s worked for a decade, such ground floor opportunities teach invaluable skills that can carry you far. She and her colleagues answered a few questions below on the topic…
Hcareers: How many employees does Five Guys employ nationally?
Sara Ortiz: We have 7,915 corporate and store-level employees. In the U.S., there are 456 corporate-owned Five Guys and 845 franchise-owned with a total of nearly 1,450 Five Guys worldwide. We do not track franchisee’s employee numbers.
Hcareers: Is hiring demand high?
Sara Ortiz: Yes, we are always looking for great talent and our company is growing rapidly. Upward mobility is a top priority for us so there is always a need to fill positions. The positions we are most in need of filling are our store-level positions.
Hcareers: What is the average trajectory for a Five Guys employee? Do most work for one year or less? What percentage stay and move up to management level? Corporate level?
Sara Ortiz: The average trajectory for a Five Guys store-level employee is advancing from crew member to shift lead/shift manager to assistant manager to general manager. As stated before, upward mobility is a large area of focus for us and we promote from within so many of our employees in management and corporate operations have worked through the ranks in the company. A significant proportion of our district managers started off working in the restaurant. Overall, our turnover rate is well below industry average for 2016.
Hcareers: What kind of new employee training does Five Guys provide?
Doug McKinney, Vice President of Training: Our training varies on when and how the employee joins the team. All store-level employees go through Five Guys University (FGU), which is our online learning management system, and receive hands-on training in the store. FGU is well-received by our employees and we sit around an 88% completion rate.
Hcareers: Why is work experience for a Fast Food establishment beneficial to one's career in hospitality?
Sara Ortiz: It teaches you the importance of customer service and it teaches you to appreciate customer service.
Hcareers: What lessons, teachings are valuable and unique to working in a fast-food outlet?
Matt Demers, Senior Director: We believe that some of the most critical skillsets needed for a successful career, in any industry, can first be learned and mastered in fast-food. This fast-paced working environment fosters valuable daily lessons on teamwork, soft skills, multi-tasking, accountability, goal alignment, time management, and leadership, among other things. We wear many “hats” in fast-food. During any given shift, that cook in the kitchen is also called on to be a customer relations professional, coach, human resources manager, teacher, maintenance technician, secretary, food safety specialist, banker, cheerleader, and so much more. Often times, he or she is playing several of these roles all at once.
Hcareers: Are there many employees at management and corporate levels who started their careers in fast-food establishment at the entry level?
Sara Ortiz: Yes, we are proud to say that we have many examples of employees who have been able to reach their professional goals at Five Guys and some started as crew members. We have internal mentor-type programs to help support employees’ interests and allow them the opportunity to work in different departments or positions. We are currently developing a resource that highlights the many paths that our employees have taken at Five Guys. This is a resource we hope will give inspiration to others within the company and highlight the resources available to them to support their growth no matter what their career goal may be or what position they are currently in at Five Guys.