Today, Shake Shack filed documents with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission detailing its plans for an $100 million initial public offering. In those documents, which lay out the merits and risks of investing in the global burger chain, Shake Shack offers some juicy tidbits about the state of the company, including its aggressive growth strategy, potential quality-control issues in Russia, and a curious concept known as "fine casual." So here's what we learned from reading through the lengthy prospectus!
1. Expect more burgers: Shake Shack plans to open 10 new company-owned domestic locations per year, beginning in 2015, growing to at least 450 outlets in the long term. "We believe there is tremendous whitespace opportunity to expand in both existing and new U.S. markets, and we have invested in our infrastructure through new hires at our home office to enable us to continue to grow rapidly and with discipline," the prospectus reads.
2. Forget about fast casual: Shake Shack is calling itself "fine casual." Per the prospectus: "We embrace our Company's fine-dining heritage and are committed to sourcing premium, sustainable ingredients, such as all-natural, hormone and antibiotic-free beef, while offering excellent value to our guests."
3. On hiring: "We aim to recruit and develop a team with the innate "personality to please" that cannot be taught. We look for people who are warm, friendly, motivated, caring, self-aware and intellectually curious team members, or what we call "51%'ers." We use the term "51%" to describe the emotional skills needed to thrive at the job and "49%" to describe the technical skills needed for the job." Yep, that's vintage Danny Meyer.
4. A strong ROI: Non-Manhattan Shake Shacks typically make enough money to recoup the original cash investment within 3.2 years after opening, while Manhattan Shacks see a faster payback period, as it's called, at 1.2 years on average. That's pretty darn quick.
5. A bit on profit margins in and outside of Manhattan: Company-owned non-Manhattan Shake Shacks averaged about $3.8 million in sales, with 22 percent profit margins, while Manhattan Shacks averaged $7.4 million in sales, with 30 percent profits.
6. Burgers are untouchable: "Shake Shack is part of the burger market of the restaurant industry, which is the largest dine-out segment in the United States with more than $72 billion in 2013 sales, according to Technomic Inc. The burger industry is estimated to be twice the size of the pizza market, which is the next largest category."
7. On foreign growth: "The Middle East has been our most prominent growth market with 20 Shacks in operation."
8. Among the risk factors laid out in the prospectus, the supply chain is perhaps the most eyebrow raising: "We have a limited number of suppliers for our major products and rely on one distribution company for the majority of our domestic distribution program. If our suppliers or distributor are unable to fulfill their obligations under our arrangements with them, we could encounter supply shortages and incur higher costs."
9. Supply chain issues are already causing the need for work-arounds in Russia, as Eater reported earlier this summer. But here, Shake Shack admits that could impact quality: "We have given our licensee in Russia approval to utilize alternative ingredients not affected by the sanctions, but there is a risk that these substitute ingredients may be inferior in taste and quality or come from suppliers that have not been vetted for food safety and quality assurance."
10. Perhaps critics shouldn't review Shake Shacks right after they open? "Our new Shacks commonly take eight to 12 weeks to reach planned operating levels due to inefficiencies typically associated with new Shacks, including the training of new personnel, new market learning curves, inability to hire sufficient qualified staff and other factors. "