Shake Shack inches closer to opening 1st drive-thru

The chain, hampered by its urban real estate portfolio, announced plans to open a drive-thru in a new Orlando development later this year.
Photo courtesy Shake Shack

Shake Shack’s long-awaited first drive-thru is getting closer to reality.

The fast-casual chain, which has been hampered by its urban-centric real estate during the pandemic, announced Friday it will open its first drive-thru in Orlando during the middle to later half of the year.

The drive-thru location will be part of the Vineland Pointe development featuring dining, shopping and entertainment.

The 3,300-square-foot Shake Shack unit will include a digital menu board, dual drive-thru lanes, a pickup window and a patio, the company said.

Shake Shack Internal

Shake Shack intends to operate five to eight drive-thrus around the country by the end of 2022.

“We are thrilled to expand our presence in Orlando,” Chief Development Officer Andrew McCaughan said in a statement. “The Vineland Pointe development is the perfect location to debut our first drive-thru.”

The development is a new, 450,000-square-foot retail destination. The multi-use project also includes retailers, grocery stores and restaurant brands such as Chick-fil-A, Cheesecake Factory and Walk-Ons Sports Bistreaux. The development is geared toward both locals and tourists, according to the developer.

Shake Shack first revealed in May that it planned to start adding drive-thrus, noting the impact of the pandemic on its sales.

“Shake Shack is being a little more impacted than your average fast casual or certainly than the QSR just because of the kind of real estate we have,” CEO Randy Garutti told analysts in the spring. “We have zero drive-thrus.”

main entrance

Earlier this week, the New York City-based burger chain reported that the gulf between its urban and suburban locations continues.

Same-store sales at Shake Shack’s suburban units were flat during Q4, a recovery from being down 16% the quarter before.

Urban restaurants, however, remained down 31% during the fourth quarter, with Manhattan locations declining 45%.

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