“It’s really up to the guest how they want to interact with Shake Shack,” said Steph So, the New York City-based fast-casual chain’s head of digital experience.
That means letting guests order at the restaurant, of course, and via its website, but also on Shake Shack’s own app and the apps of third-party delivery companies.
In fact, So said, the most frequent customers of the chain are the omni-channel guests — those who switch from one platform to the next as it suits their needs or moods, or whatever other idiosyncratic quirk that person might have at the moment they want a ShackBurger and Parmesan Garlic Fries with Black Truffle Sauce.
So and her team have fine-tuned Shake Shack’s digital capabilities to make them available wherever and whenever their guests want them.
Since the start of the pandemic, the chain has introduced curbside pickup and delivery via the app (with last-mile-delivery performed by Uber Eats). It also now has walk-up windows at some urban locations — like drive-thrus but for people on foot.
Those changes have resulted in increased frequency from guests, “and a stickiness of our guests that we’re really happy with,” So said.
In December, the chain opened its first two drive-thru locations.
“When we first started Shake Shack, we never thought we’d have that as an order mode given how long our food takes to prepare,” So said, noting that everything at the chain is made to order.
Shake Shack was founded by restaurant operator Danny Meyer, whose restaurants are known for their excellent hospitality, and that culture extends to the burger chain. So said better digital tools help with that.
For example, if an ordering kiosk takes care of the transactional tasks of recording what guests want and taking their payment, that means crew members have extra time to look after their other needs — refilling water glasses, keeping the restaurants clean or talking with customers.
And that customer service goes beyond the four walls.
“Digital integration means even if I had a great experience at a Shake Shack and I left, I can still interact through a digital channel to either let you know or, if I didn't have a great experience, I can use a digital channel to let you know and we have a digital way to make that right,” So said.
She said that in 2022, Shake Shack’s digital experience is going to be more engaging.
“All of our digital interactions should have our voice and should be fun to use,” she said.
Lots of apps get people in and out efficiently and conveniently, but people remember lines that make them laugh, or surprise confetti images, So said — not getting in the way of the business at hand, but helping to make them feel “as joyful and uplifted as walking into a Shake Shack and having a smiling team member take your order.”
- Meet the 2022 Power List
- This mobile, automated pizza restaurant will bring freshly baked pizza right to the customer
- The ‘anti-ghost kitchen’ that’s connecting people with virtual restaurants
Contact Bret Thorn at [email protected]
Follow him on Twitter: @foodwriterdiary