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Emerging Brands

Shake Shack named 2020 Pacesetter Award winner

The fast-casual burger brand continues to grow through strong leadership and innovation.
Photograph: Shutterstock

Strong leadership coupled with innovative, deliberate growth earned Shake Shack the 2020 Pacesetter Award, an honor given by Restaurant Business to a growth chain with a sustained track record of success.

The annual Pacesetter Award is given to a brand previously ranked on RB’sFuture 50 list, a report driven by Technomic data on the emerging chains to watch. Contenders for the award are Future 50 graduates: those that have grown annual sales above the $50 million threshold.

Shake Shack was selected by the magazine’s editors for its impressive year-over-year sales increases, new store openings and average unit volumes, as well as its strong, consistent leadership and willingness to innovate.

The New York-based fast-casual chain first made the Future 50 list in 2012. Since then, it has grown to become one of the country’s 100 largest chains, coming in at No. 71 on RB’s 2020 Top 500 list. The company saw year-over-year sales growth of 31.8% in 2019.

Even amid the pandemic, 167-unit Shake Shack has continued to innovate. The brand released online cooking shows for cooped-up consumers and started selling ingredients to make its Shackburgers at home via food delivery platform Goldbelly. Shake Shack now plans to add order-head drive-thru pickup lanes at a number of its restaurants.

Previous Pacesetter Award winners include Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants, The Habit Burger Grill, MOD Pizza and Which Wich.

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