Ever so often I see two people get in an argument about Five Guys and In-N-Out, and I can't help but cringe. They directly compare the toppings, the meat and the buns like they're nothing, and they can't agree about which restaurant is better. Eventually it gets dropped, but everyone involved ends up slightly upset, and no one enjoys their food.
For the longest time, I've held my tongue (this isn't completely true — when I was a college-paper editor I assigned a comparison, but that was a bad idea), but it's happening more and more often, and I can't take it anymore.
Comparing Five Guys Burgers and Fries and In-N-Out Burger is dumb. It's stupid, pointless, useless and dumb. No one should do it, and here's why.
1. They're completely different price levels
Let's get this one out of the way first. A double-double sets you back a little over $3. A full double-double meal with fries and a drink doesn't even break $7. A double cheeseburger at Five Guys? You've already broken $8. If you also want fries and a drink? That's another $5 on top. For the same price as a meal at Five Guys, you could get two double-double meals.
That's not a bad thing mind you; it's just different. All I'm saying is that there's no point in comparing two things whose prices are different by a factor of two. Would you seriously compare McDonalds to Umami Burger? Or piss beer to something from The Bruery? Hell no you wouldn't, so why are you comparing Five Guys and In-N-Out.
2. They serve completely different purposes
How would you feel about someone stopping by In-N-Out for lunch everyday?
Sure, that sounds horrible, but it also sounds believable.
What if someone told you they ate at Five Guys everyday? Well, that person just sounds like they should be dead.
Five Guys and In-N-Out service two different purposes in the quick-food world. Five Guys is a little bit of a destination, breaching into Ruby's Diner or Johnny Rockets territory. Normal people have taken dates to Five Guys — cheap dates, sure, but dates nonetheless.
Everyone loves In-N-Out, but really it's more of a “we've both worked overtime today and don't want to change out of sweat pants” territory.
3. You build one but are given the other
This is my biggest reason why you shouldn't compare the two. At In-N-Out, you know what you're getting. Double-double animal style? Grilled cheese? Animal fries? Everyone knows what to expect.
But at Five Guys? It's on you. If you order a hamburger with just mushrooms and mustard, and you hate it, that's your fault. If you find some holy grail of burger combinations? That's not because of the restaurant either, that's on you.
It's inherently unfair to compare a place where they've planned everything — you can make changes sure, but not to the same extent — to a place where you have to build everything yourself.
And that's why it's pointless compare Five Guys and In-N-Out. At their cores, they're just different, and that's that. One's not better than the other, one's not worse, and let's just leave it at that. Stop comparing them guys, it's not worth the energy. (And really, you guys should be eating at TK Burger anyways.)