I went to McDonald’s, Burger King and Five Guys in Nottingham city – and there were two winners


People in Nottingham city are simply spoilt for choice when it comes to fast food, especially with burgers. Within a two or three-minute walk of each other are Five Guys on Angel Row, and Burger King and McDonalds, both on Exchange Walk.

The three iconic American fast food giants are all vying to tickle your taste buds through the day, but which one is best, and worth your time and hard-earned money? To find out for, I tried a double cheeseburger from each place at lunchtime, along with notes of what the customer experience is like.

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Five Guys

My first stop on this burger binge is Five Guys in Long Row. Outdoor seating areas with parasols are out, but no-one is seen sitting outside – just a chap munching on his choice of burger looking into the distance through the window inside.

I enter the building and my nostrils are immediately hit with the sensational smell of burgers sizzling away. It smells so inviting.

I get to the till to place my order, and it takes about 30 seconds or so before I am seen, as the staff look busy preparing orders with two Deliveroo drivers waiting to pick up. I order a cheeseburger, as a double is standard for £8.95, with relish, knowing that any additional toppings could tip me over the edge if I’m to try all three burgers…

Service was so incredibly friendly with a smile throughout, and I’m asked how my day is going. Very well, thank you, sir, I’m getting to review three burgers!

I’m given a ticket and asked to wait for my order, and it arrives within 30 seconds. By the time I’ve sat down, I’m back up with burger in hand, impressed with the service, ready to grab the next one.

Five Guys on Long Row in Nottingham

Burger King

My next stop is at Burger King on Exchange Walk, a hop, skip and a jump across the Old Market Square. This time, I’m met with a digital ordering panel, although I can order in person, and there are a handful of people waiting and more eating inside.

It takes a moment or two for the panel to work for me at first (and no, I’m not a technophobe). I eventually get there and order a bacon double cheeseburger for £5.99, a good £3 less than the burger at Five Guys.

A screen telling customers the state of their order reveals they are currently preparing around 25 orders, including mine, so I brace myself for an eternal wait. Much to my delight though, I only had to wait around two or three minutes before it was ready.

I was asked hurriedly if I’d like sauce, to which I politely declined, and left. Two down, one to go.

Burger King on Exchange Walk in Nottingham
Burger King on Exchange Walk in Nottingham

McDonalds

My last stop is at McDonalds on Exchange Walk, just down the road from where I picked up my Burger King. And my goodness, this is by far the busiest establishment of the three.

There must be around 20 or 30 people queueing, waiting for their order, and the tables are packed, there’s barely a place to sit down. A busy restaurant is a sign it’s a good one, right?

I order again on a digital ordering panel, placing an order for a Big Mac at £3.59. There is no screen telling me how long the wait would be as I join what feels like half of Nottingham waiting patiently for their lunch.

Order 74 is called, my first clue at how long this will take, and my order is 79. It only takes two or three minutes again for my order to be ready, but this time, there’s an unexpected obstacle in the way of me picking it up.

Directly in front of the pickup counter is a sea of spilled Coca-Cola. There is a wet floor sign in place, but without my 6’7″ frame, I would not have been able to reach over and grab the goods without asking people to move.

Sometimes being so tall does have its perks (except for jokes about how the weather is up there, and constantly banging my head on doors… But that could be a different article altogether).

McDonalds on Exchange Walk in Nottingham
McDonalds on Exchange Walk in Nottingham

Presentation

Taking them home to try them all out, putting them side-by-side, there’s one thing that immediately sticks out to me – that the Burger King offering is much smaller and nowhere near as high… I actually open the bun up before eating it to check there are two patties in there and that I haven’t been short changed.

The McDonalds Big Mac looks pretty decent and fairly neat in its box, but there is no doubt the star of the show in terms of looks is Five Guys… Just look at that melted cheese!

Simply put, it looks mega, but does it taste as good? Let’s find out…

Taste test

Starting with Burger King, the burger itself is tasty, and in a good mouthful, you get a good ratio of bacon and cheese with your bite. It’s a decent burger.

When checking out in-store, I was asked if I wanted sauce, to which I said no. Oh what a mistake this was…

There wasn’t any sauce in the burger, and it was dry, despite it being tasty. It was good, but I just wish it was bigger…

On to the Five Guys burger – my first impression is that there’s so much more substance to this one, the patties are a lot thicker and it stands head and shoulders above the Burger King offering. It’s a similar story with its taste, which is so flavoursome.

I went for relish in this one, and although it helped, even without it still would not have been dry due to the juiciness of the burger, and the incredible cheese. It’s a very good quality burger, and it must be said is very customisable, as you can choose 15 different topping options to put in there at no extra cost.

Big Mac next, and as ever there’s no disputing its size. The Big Mac sauce is just something else, too, isn’t it?

Although it stands as tall as the Five Guys burger, there is an extra layer of bread between the two patties to give it that elevation. The patties are the same circumference, but nowhere near as dense.

It’s an all-round tasty burger. And yes, the gherkins remain in for me.

Verdict

This is not a cop out, but I’m going to deliver two different verdicts – the outright best, and best for value for money. Narrowing things down straight away. For me, Burger King is at the bottom of the pile on both of these accounts.

In terms of the outright best, this has to be Five Guys, due to the quality of its patties, customisable topping options and friendly service going a long way, too. But, at £8.95 for just the burger, it is quite steep, especially if you’re grabbing one for lunch.

That’s why I want to do a value for money option and give McDonald’s top spot on that ranking, with it being less than half the price than Five Guys, but definitely not less than half as tasty. The Big Mac sauce is exceptional, and it leaves you happy with less of a hit to your pocket.

Just watch out for puddles of Coca Cola if you order in-store.





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