Sunday, February 8, 2009

First Lady at 5 Guys, Off to Burger U

Michelle Obama went with her "staff" to Five Guys - no picture, but a nice mention in the New York Times. Regardless of your politics, you have to admit it's a good sign when she could probably have taken them anywhere and ended up at Five Guys, especially since as a Chicago person she couldn't have known about them UNLESS SOMEONE REALLY RECOMMENDED IT TO HER. On top of that, she ordered a cheeseburger, fries and a soda, so she at least knows something about economic stimulus that works.

Tonight I am heading off to Lorton, VA for a couple of days at Five Guys Burger University (my words, not theirs.) I am ready with my red t-shirts and baseball cap. The red shirts connote that I will be a crew member, not a manager, and the main thing the cap will show people is that I have a small head and look ridiculous in a one-size-fits-all hat. That's entrepreneurship. My partner Marc is taking the 2nd half of the week; since we aren't going to be working in the stores ourselves, we don't have to complete the whole week of 8am-11pm days and the certification test on Friday. That said, our feeling is that if we are going to be owners, we need to have some basic understanding of what it's like to actually work in the business. I have done similar things in my tech business life (sitting on the customer support desk, etc.) I didn't have to buy work shoes for those gigs though.

I'm heading down with our manager (Rich Lanza) and our assistant manager (Doug Oelbaum). This past week was huge as we got them introduced and starting to talk about running the store, which we are very confident in their ability to do. Also, demolition started on our site, we had a big architectural breakthrough for our next site, we finalized our construction contract, and are generally working our way down the "punchlist"; the punchlist is the 5 Guys project plan, if you will, on how to open a store. It is OK and ever-changing, so we have had to figure out a lot on our own. Yet another reason to attend burger school to find out how these restaurants actually run.

More from Virginia after the first long day.

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