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89: For Molly Catalano of Five Guys Burgers and Fries, it’s all about a maniacal focus on customer experience

This week in “Marketing Today,” Alan talks with Molly Catalano, vice president of marketing and communications at Five Guys Burgers and Fries. Catalano joined Five Guys over 13 years ago when the company had just 30 stores. Today, through sustained growth fueled by franchising, Five Guys has over 1,500 locations in 10 countries.

At the heart of the Five Guys success story is the importance they place on the customer experience, a flag planted by the founders, the Murrell family, from day one. It’s something the company — and Catalano — have never lost sight of. “The hardest part of my job is I don’t want to ruin that,” says Catalano. “I never want to do anything marketing-wise that takes away from the purity of the brand, which is that focus on the customer experience.”

Highlights from this week’s “Marketing Today” podcast include:

  • Catalano relates the Five Guys story — growing from a single store to an international presence. (1:38)
  • A marketing company that isn’t big on advertising: Catalano describes what marketing looks like at Five Guys. (5:19)
  • Catalano talks about the Five Guys in-store experience. (6:30)
  • The Five Guys Mystery Shopping Program has created buy-in across countries and franchises. (8:33)
  • A maniacal focus on the product and the experience. (11:13)
  • Catalano on the recent increase in marketing spend for Five Guys and their use of digital and social. (13:37)
  • Five Guys has found great success in implementing a franchisee task force to drive social and digital efforts. (17:27)
  • Catalano’s advice for other heads of marketing. (19:57)