Danny Meyer of Shake Shack has a clearly thought out strategy on how to make an infamous burger chain bigger by appearing smaller. Last summer, the chain had a total of 12 locations, and by the end of 2013, they will have grown to at least 33 restaurants across 6 different countries. The vision of Shake Shack is to offer upscale fast food without increasing the price too much.
Meyer is a firm believer in slowing down and creating restaurants as if each were his one and only. The Shake Shack team often refers to the burger chain as the “anti-chain” chain. When speaking about Shake Shack’s competition, like Five Guys, In-n-Out, and Smashburger, CEO Randy Garutti explained, “We love their concepts, we think they do fabulous things, but we’re different than that. We’re on the outside of that, because our goal isn’t to franchise domestically. Our goal is not to do hundreds a year. That would dilute what we do.”
So the question is, when should Shake Shack’s growth stop? It currently has less than 40 locations, but then it will get to 50. And down the road, to 100 locations. How many is too many for the image the company wants to portray? Expansion has already caused a change in the quality of meat. When Shake Shack expanded into Florida, it switched from a Pat LaFrieda specialty blend to a Miami purveyor called Bush Brothers. “It’s the same cuts, the same process, the same overnight fresh shipment,” said Garutti.