How to Manage Sticker Shock at Five Guys

For two people . . . fifty dollars!

He meant well. When my husband made a stop at Five Guys the other day it was his intention to treat me to my favourite takeout fries, a burger, and a milkshake for lunch. What he was not prepared for was a bill totalling fifty dollars! Even McDonald’s prices have skyrocketed (relatively speaking) but fifty dollars? Sticker shock from that expenditure was enough to put us off our lunch.

Back in the olden days (the early sixties) I worked for sixty-five cents an hour at a little drive-in burger joint behind the bowling alley in our small Ontario town. A burger, fries, and a milkshake at The Parkway could be had for a grand total of seventy cents—25¢ for a burger, 20¢ for an order of fries, and 25¢ for a real milkshake made with genuine milk on an old-fashioned Hamilton Beach machine. No cheap imported milk solids from questionable sources extruded from a nozzle.

I am one of a select group of boomers who can include carhop on her resume.

I admit that was a very long time ago, and relatively speaking, taking inflation and the cost of living into consideration , fifty dollars probably computes proportionately. As a teenager in 1964, I could buy fries, a burger, and a milkshake for the equivalent of an hour’s wages (65¢). If I were still working today, I would need to be making fifty dollars an hour, which is more than three times what the average burger flipper actually makes today, to make the same purchase at Five Guys.

So, I thought I’d share my own knowledge and advice on how to order lunch at Five Guys with the faithful readers of BoomerBroadcast. I will spare you the shocking calorie counts, carb grams, and fat content since a Five Guys lunch is a special treat and I don’t want to put you off altogether. I like Five Guys.

Here’s my own version of THIS not THAT when you go to Five Guys.

Instead of Cost Get This Cost
Hamburger (2 patties) $9.69 Little hamburger (1 patty) $7.89
Large fries $6.59 Little fries $4.69
Milkshake $5.79 Regular fountain drink $3.09
TOTAL (before taxes) $22.07 TOTAL (before taxes) $15.67

Using my system we could have saved about $23.59 for both of us if we’d shared a small order of fries, cutting our bill almost in half. When I go alone, I usually get a single order of Little Fries (which is a meal in itself) and a regular soft drink (I love fountain Diet Coke even though it is nutritional suicide) for a total of $7.78 before taxes. I generally skip the burger because the bun gets all soggy in the foil wrapping, then, I cleverly get my protein from the free peanuts. Compared to $22.07, who’s a smart shopper? And, I’m notoriously shit at math. It’s more expensive than McDonald’s but better quality—although, those $1.00 summer soft drinks at McDonald’s are an amazing bargain.

It’s a good thing my husband didn’t stop for ice-cream cones on the way home. That can set you back the price of a small imported car these days. The cost of an ice-cream cone pales, however, compared to $49.00/lb. for beef tenderloin at the grocery store this week. Fortunately I am not a fan of eating steak. Sticker shock can be hard on old boomers living on fixed incomes. Do you think the guys at Five Guys or anyone else cares? What about you?

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