Shake Shack Adding Self-Service Kiosks Across Full Chain; Introducing More Drive-Thru Displays
November 7, 2022 by Dave Haynes
The U.S. burger chain Shake Shack is making big investments in digital to deal with shifting consumer expectations and the challenges of hiring and keeping staff.
QSR Magazine has a detailed story up about how the chain is investing in self-service kiosks across its deployed stores.
Today, roughly half of Shake Shacks offer kiosks. The brand said Thursday it’s committed to retrofitting all locations by the end of 2023.
CFO Kate Fogertey said kiosks are Shake Shack’s most profitable channel and produce the highest in-store checks. Units with kiosks also boast better labor utilization rates than those without.
By the end of 2022, about 20–30 existing stores will have added kiosks, leaving 60–70 in line for 2023.
Broadly, Fogertey said, kiosks represent a “really great lever” for Shake Shack to lean on to help streamline labor and address the front-of-house opportunity. She added a good portion of guests prefer them over traditional cashiers when given the choice. In many locations, Shake Shack has five or six kiosks alongside one or two cash registers. “And you see a number of people … instantly go toward the kiosk,” Fogertey said. “If you haven’t used one before, I highly encourage you do.”
Beyond labor, customers appreciate the ability to sit with the menu and page through, she noted. Shake Shack sees that translate through orders as they tack on premium offerings. Guests will view LTOs and navigate order flow with upsell throughout. “We’re having a burger, we’re going to have our shake and our fry and our lemonade,” Fogertey said. “And they can visually see all of that.”
From a labor and check perspective, it’s definitely accreditive, she continues. So the benefit is clear: in some instances, Shake Shack can run leaner still meet guest expectations. But also, the brand can take extra labor and dedicate it to more value-added tasks, like expediting orders or greeting guests walking in.
The chain has traditionally focused on walk-in business, but the pandemic’s lockdowns forced Shake Shack – like just about every food services operator – to pivot to alternatives. Drive-thru was never a thing, but Shake Shack is getting intp it – with six stores operating today, and three to four more planned by year’s end. QSR says 10–15 more stores will add drive-thrus next year – which means an opportunity for outdoor display manufacturers.
The company concedes it is still learning how to plan and then optimize drive-thru.
Thus far, Shake Shack has taken stock of things like learning how much space it needs for cars and what peak hours look like; how best to take orders and when it’s wisest to put order takers outside. “We are honing in a lot better on how we think the kitchen flow should work so we can protect and maintain the premium ingredients that we serve every way,” says CEO Randy Garutti. “We’re learning what menuboards should look like. How big they should be and what kind of things sell. When we put shakes up there they sell, right? So what should we do about that? It’s vast and it’s really a totally different model.”
The high-level feeling, though, is optimistic, which is why Shake Shack will continue to open its CapEx coffers. “We think we have a dynamic, really cool product out there with our drive-thru,” Garutti said. “We think there can be lots of them. But we’ve got a lot of work to do to optimize that, and that’s going to happen over these next few years.”