Shake Shack filed for an initial public offering on Monday, marking the next phase of a 10-year journey from a single location in a New York City park to a global brand with 63 locations and $82.5 million in revenue.
Just four years ago, the burger chain had seven locations and $19.5 million in sales. And it's already profitable, with a net income of $5.4 million last year.
Shake Shack is one of 11 restaurant brands in the Union Square Hospitality Group (USHG), Danny Meyer's lauded restaurant group.
Meyer himself is the recipient of accolades like the James Beard Foundation's Restaurateur of the Year award and Humanitarian of the Year award.
From interviews and profiles over the past few years, we've compiled the traits that helped Meyer become known as "the greatest restaurateur New York has ever seen" and to build the Shake Shack empire.
His greatest passion is for the restaurant business.
In a 2011 interview with Business Insider, Meyer said that restaurant owners need to ask themselves the following questions:
- Do you really love providing pleasure for other people? (If you're a stock broker, your love is for the game, not for the pleasures of others.)
- Do you love the topic of wine, food, and beverage?
- Are you a really competitive person? (Because "someone will nip at your heels within minutes if you're successful.")
He is not impulsive.
Meyer founded his first restaurant, Union Square Tavern, in 1985 and then waited nine years until he opened his second, Gramercy Tavern.
He revealed in a New York Times profile that his father overextended his hotel business and ended up bankrupt at age 42. It's something he says he's always kept in mind, and why he has his team do extensive research before expanding an existing brand or creating a new one.