A Mission Statement That Gets Right Down to Business

It was about seven years ago on the cobblestone streets of Old Town Alexandria that I first enjoyed their delicious cooked-to-order burgers. Since then, the owners of that surprisingly good little place – called Five Guys – have rapidly expanded to over 200 locations.

But it was only last week that I came across the Five Guys company mission statement – and I may like that even more than their burgers and fries.

Is Five Guys dedicated to saving the environment? Celebrating diversity? Stopping war? Nothing wrong with those things… but what do they have to do with business?

The Five Guys plan is much simpler:

Mission : We are in the business of selling burgers.

Goal: Five Guys’ goal is to sell the best quality burgers possible. To sell the best burger possible, we focus on Quality, Service, and Cleanliness.”

Sounds like THE place to go if you want to buy a burger. And isn’t that what it should be all about?

Once your business is a success, you may find tons of personal fulfillment in engaging in charitable acts on your own dime. But mixing business and charitable objectives in a company’s mission statement – especially that of a start-up company – seems risky to me.

[Ed Note: Charlie Byrne is Creative Director at Early to Rise. Sign up for e-mail delivery of his blog and get edgy and useful ideas on copywriting, marketing, and other category-defying posts.]

Charlie Byrne

Charlie Byrne is a former Senior Copywriter and Editorial Director for Early to Rise. Charlie spent the earlier part of his business career as a systems analyst, project manager and consultant in New York City for Fortune 100 companies including Philip Morris, Digital Equipment, and Citicorp as well as New York University and Columbia University. He then spent over ten years at Reuters Ltd and Interealty Corp designing and implementing financial, real estate and news information services. In 2003, he joined Early to Rise as a senior editor and copywriter. Since then he has helped publish over 1000 editions of ETR, resulting in gross revenues of well over $25 million. He has also produced dozens of winning sales letters and promotions, including two that brought in over $200,000 in under 24 hours, another two that have grossed over $1 million each, and a single sales letter that sold 25 units of a $10,000 product.