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Shake Shack to Introduce Barbecue Chicken Sandwiches, Expand Breakfast Offerings

The burger chain is doubling down on chicken

Shake Shack Raises Prices For Upcoming IPO Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

Burger chain Shake Shack is doubling down on chicken and mobile-ordering. In an earnings call with investors on Wednesday, company executives outlined what the next few months will look like in Shack-land.

Below, three things we learned from the call:

The chain will introduce limited-time-only chicken sandwiches in 2017.

Shake Shack will soon introduce two new limited offerings at all of its restaurants: a burger and a chicken sandwich. The Barbecue Shackmeister burger — topped with beer-marinated crispy shallots and Shack barbecue sauce — will run simultaneously with a Barbecue Chick’n Shack, crispy chicken breast, topped with Shack barbecue sauce and served on a bun. The sandwiches will launch toward the end of the first quarter of 2017 and will cost “a little” less than the chain’s current limited-time offer, the Bacon CheddarShack, at $6.89.

According to company executives, the Chick’n Shack has become one of the chain’s top three best-selling items since it was introduced in January. Executives have said they eventually plan to add more varieties of chicken sandwiches to the menu (for now, there’s just the standard pickle-mayo-lettuce variety). The company is currently offering a limited Salt & Pepper Honey Chick’n sandwich at its three Brooklyn stores, but that item hasn’t made its way onto menus outside of New York just yet.

Shake Shack also has plans limited-time only trios of shakes each season, to piggyback on the success of the restaurant’s holiday milkshake offerings.

Shake Shack continues to expand its mobile-ordering app.

Last month, the chain announced it was testing a mobile-order-and-pay app. At its launch, the Shack App allowed users to order burgers, fries, and custard from New York's Midtown East Shack, cutting down on in-store wait time.

As of this week, the app has been expanded to two additional New York stores on the Upper East Side and in downtown Brooklyn. That expansion is likely to continue, though the company might make some tweaks along the way. “As it’s tested, we will patiently roll it out [elsewhere] over time,” said chief executive officer Randy Garutti.

In the long term, Shake Shack will continue to offer delivery through third-party apps. “There’s no question the consumer is moving toward a ‘bring it to me’ mentality,” said Garutti, adding that Shack Shack has no official partnerships with any delivery services (though DoorDash and Postmates both offer Shake Shack deliveries in some cities).

“We’re excited about delivery, but we’re not joining in with one partner at this time,” Garutti said. “There are so many companies disrupting that industry: Uber, Amazon. ... We’re taking time to get to know each company and where it’s headed.”

The company is playing with breakfast. But not drive-thrus.

So far, breakfast is only available at a handful of transit Shacks (airports, Grand Central Station, and Fulton Center in NYC), so the forthcoming outpost inside New York’s Penn Station will also offer morning items such as coffee, juice, and sausage sandwiches. According to Shack executives, the Penn Station store’s menu will include pre-made “grab-and-go” items.

Drive-thru Shacks, however, are unlikely. “Drive-thru as we know it has got to evolve,” Garutti said, adding that it is not even on the table at Shake Shack. “We see it more as a pick-up, drive-up scenario. App pickup, parking spaces to make it easier to get in and out — we’re trying to do that where we can. But we don't want to undo what made Shake Shack great.”

Shake Shack Is Testing a Mobile Ordering App [E]
All Shake Shack Coverage [E]

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