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Shake Shack continues to experiment with digital and delivery

“Burgers and fries and shakes were not intended to be eaten a half-hour after they were cooked,” the chain’s CFO said.
Photograph: Shutterstock

Shake Shack, which has seen declining same-store sales in recent quarters, continues to expand its digital presence while testing the limits of its back-of-house operations.

The fast-growing fast-casual burger chain launched a redesigned mobile app this week and expanded its web-based ordering for larger tickets. While Shake Shack’s delivery program is still officially in pilot mode, it’s available in some form at nearly all of the chain’s more than 200 units.

“We continue to pile on these Shacks with more and more ways you can engage and the kitchen is having to produce food to all these different channels of demand now,” Shake Shack CFO Tara Comonte said at an investor conference this week.

The chain is not only testing which third-party delivery service works best for the concept, but it is also experimenting with off-premise packaging and even delivery-centric menu items to develop the most successful delivery program, Comonte said.

“We do not want at any point in time to risk the quality of the experience we provide,” she said. “Shake Shack was born out of a fine-dining company. The delivery of our food does not necessarily fit with a great experience. Burgers and fries and shakes were not intended to be eaten a half-hour after they were cooked.

“There’s still a lot of great learning going on,” she said, before the pilot program becomes official.

The redesigned Shack App eliminates some of the screens of the previous version, allowing consumers to place orders up to 50% more quickly, according to the company.

“We’re trying to take friction out of the path to purchase,” she said.

Last month, Shake Shack reported a same-store sales decline of just under 1%. The company plans to open its largest number of new units ever in 2019, with 36 to 40 locations scheduled.

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