Shake Shack’s growth around the world, especially in the U.S., was not a marathon in 2018. It was a sprint.
In the last quarter of 2018, Danny Meyer’s New York City-based better burger brand opened 20 systemwide units, a chain record. That included the company’s first restaurant in Seattle and another licensed unit at La Guardia Airport, which marked the worldwide Shake Shack system’s 200th store opening.
The fast-casual company opened 36 locations in 2018 and generated estimated U.S. system sales of $467.6 million in 2018, a 27.3% increase compared with the Preceding Year, according to 2019 Top 200 research. The latest sales data suggest that Shake Shack will again score as a top 3 chain ranked by Latest-Year growth in U.S. systemwide sales.
During the company’s fourth quarter earnings call, CEO Randy Garutti said robust growth will continue this year. He said Shake Shack plans to open 36 to 40 domestic company restaurants and 16 to 18 licensed stores with an emphasis on expanding in China, Singapore, the Philippines and Mexico.
Some of the growth will occur with different formats including food courts and food trucks.
In the first quarter of 2019, the company opened 12 restaurants.
As it turns 15 this year, the company said it will not forget older restaurants amid this expansion spurt. In its latest quarter, the brand said it is looking to update legacy restaurants to make them more compatible with digital sales and delivery.
“We’re bullish about everything digital,” Garutti said.
Garutti said as big as the company gets, Shake Shack will not abandon its roadside stand roots, either.
In each new location, the company will partner with local suppliers to differentiate each store. For example, the new Seattle store features a specialty burger made with local grass-fed beef.
“The bigger we get, the smaller we have to act,” Garutti said.
In the first quarter, the company reported revenue of $132.6 million, up 33.8% from $99.1 million a year earlier, same period.
NRN’s 2019 Top 200 is based on reported or estimated results for fiscal years ended from July 1, 2018, through June 30, 2019.
Contact Nancy Luna at [email protected]
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