Shake Shack, the formerly boutique burger restaurant that’s now hellbent on world domination, is finally taking the big plunge into the delivery game. The Danny Meyer-founded chain is partnering with Grubhub — a company with some highly questionable business practices — to offer delivery service at its restaurants across America, starting with locations in Chicago, New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey.
Going all-in on delivery is a somewhat surprising move for the brand, which has always prided itself on its in-store experience. Since the chain started expanding nationwide, CEO Randy Garutti has repeatedly referred to Shake Shack as “a community gathering spot,” and last year, Shake Shack’s chief financial officer Tara Comonte told the Denver Post, “Burgers and fries and shakes were not intended to be eaten half an hour after they were cooked.”
But as the food delivery wars heated up in recent years, Shake Shack began cautiously experimenting with offering this service through trial runs with DoorDash and Caviar in select markets. And now, as more of its chain restaurant rivals expand into the delivery space, Shake Shack is partnering with one of the industry’s big dogs — Grubhub, a company that received a $200 million investment from Taco Bell’s corporate overlord Yum! Brands last year — to offer Shackburgers and Concretes ferried straight to your door. Although Garutti hasn’t disclosed the specifics of the deal with Grubhub, the restaurateur says, “We feel like we have nice situation here — it lets them and us thrive.”
Because Shake Shack has positioned itself as America’s premium fast food chain, with prices that reflect the perceived higher quality of its food, the success of the delivery business may depend on how well those burgers and fries travel. To address the quality control issue, Team Shake Shack improved its packaging and also worked with Grubhub on a system wherein orders will be fired as the drivers approach the restaurants, to cut down on lag time. “The No. 1 thing any restaurant can do is keep the time from pick up to delivery down,” Garutti tells Bloomberg. “We’ve been super deliberate about this.”
Phase one of Shake Shack’s delivery gambit begins soon, and the chain hopes to offer this service at 150 locations nationwide within the next nine months.
• Shake Shack Brushes Off Quality Concerns With Dive Into Delivery [Bloomberg]
• All Shake Shack Coverage [E]