Five guys, Obama and fries

May 26, 2013

In 1931, author James Adams coined the phrase “the American Dream.” Adams stated in his book, “The Epic of America,” that the American Dream was “that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement.”

Jerry and Janie Murrell, living in Arlington, Va., believed in that dream so deeply that in 1986 they offered some solid advice to their four sons when they told them to go to college or start a business. The appeal of starting a business prevailed and Five Guys Burgers and Fries was born.

Not only did the family dig in their heels, work their fannies off and learn the ropes of running a business, but, between 1986 and 2001, they expanded their company to include five other locations. For the Murrells, the American Dream became reality. By 2012, Five Guys had opened over 1,000 locations across the United States and Canada with hundreds of other establishments scheduled to open in the near future.

Five Guys was proclaimed the fastest growing food chain in America with 32 percent sales increase between 2010 and 2011. In 2012, a marketing firm questioned 7,600 consumers and Five Guys ranked No. 1 in food quality, service, cleanliness and atmosphere. By all accounts, Jerry, Janie and their sons, Matt, Jim, Chad and Ben, were living proof of that James Adams’ quote.

But there is a foul odor rising from something being cooked up in our nation’s capital. There is a new entree hidden in the menu at Five Guys called Obamacare. No, it won’t be listed among the options customers can choose from. This item will be forced down the throat of the American public and, believe me when I tell you, there aren’t any condiments that will make it taste very good.

Not only will the taste be repulsive, but it will cost the customers at Five Guys plenty. Why? Because inevitably the cost of Obamacare will be passed along to consumers. My guess is that in the near future failing businesses may be known as Obamafries. Harry Truman once said “if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.” I don’t think it ever occurred to him “the heat” driving people out of restaurant kitchens would one day be ignited by someone serving in the Oval Office.

Mike Ruffer, a Five Guys franchise owner in North Carolina, says he will need all the profits from one of his eight stores to cover the $60,000 that implementing Obamacare will cost him. And yes, that does mean prices will rise in his eating establishments.

Make no mistake, with the implementation of Obamacare, James Adams’ definition of the American Dream will be rewritten, hopes of company profits will become a mirage, and folks just like the Murrells with visions of starting a new business will find they have drifted into the world of fantasy. Maybe it’s time that Jerry and Janie Murrell held another family meeting with the boys to rename the business, Five Guys, Obama and Fries.

Larry Douglas



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