Monday, May 7, 2018

Don't be surprised to see a human take your order (and cash) at the Astor Place Shake Shack

The Shack Shack at 51 Astor Place/the IBM Watson Building/Death Star debuted this past October on Third Avenue and Ninth Street.

Let's quickly revisit the press release about this opening of Danny Meyer's growing burger empire:

A reflection of Shake Shack’s relentless focus on excellence, experience and hospitality through innovation, the Astor Place Shack will introduce a new guest flow at the restaurant ... the Shack is designed to enhance operations and guest experience and will feature kiosk-only ordering, a cashless environment, and an optimized kitchen for greater throughput.

Custom-designed by Shake Shack, the Shack kiosk was developed to allow Shake Shack to serve more guests at peak times – whether in-Shack, for pickup via the Shack App, or even delivery – resulting in fewer lines, less wait time and quicker speed of service at every channel. Several kiosks will line the Shack and team members known as Hospitality Champs will be stationed around the kiosks to assist guests with their orders and answer any questions.

Apparently this kiosk service didn't reflect so well with patrons. During an earnings call with analysts this past Thursday, Shake Shack CEO Randy Garutti reported that humans will be put to work taking orders here moving forward.

Business Insider had the story on Friday:

[A]fter receiving complaints from furious customers who wanted to pay with their hard-earned legal tender, the burger chain is reversing course and adding cashiers to cashless locations going forward, its chief executive officer told analysts.

"Some of the things we've clearly seen is that our guests do often want to pay with cash,” CEO Randy Garutti said in response to an analyst’s question. "In the first rollout at Astor Place, we did not accept cash at all, and there are people who have told us very clearly 'we want to pay with cash.'"

"So in this next phase, we're going to go ahead and have cashiers as well as kiosks," he continued.

Otherwise business is quite good for the chain here and elsewhere. Shake Shack posted first-quarter earnings that topped analyst expectations.

Meanwhile, to help re-acclimate anyone on how to interact with a human in this situation, here are some tips on what to say:

• Hi (or hello or, perhaps, hey)
• How are you?
• Is Danny here?
• Thank you!

H/T Eater and Edmund John Dunn!


aliasfox said...

I'm going to guess there are a lot of students who don't have a credit card yet.


I tried Shake Shack for the first time last year. I took a bite and started to laugh. It's Friendly's.

Scuba Diva said...

So happy to see at least one "cashless" business respond to consumer complaints; I don't think there's anything I can eat at ShakeShack™, but I'm waiting to see if ArgoTea™ notices their own decreased revenue and decides to start taking cash again.

sophocles said...

The people have spoken and shake shack has listened! I liked it at first but the burger is a tasty gut bomb and the fries are super crispy but use processed potatoes, so its rapidly diminishing returns for me. But for some reason the lines at Madison Square Park will outlive us all.

Gojira said...

I think this change can be ascribed more to "a reflection of Shake Shack’s relentless focus on" profits.

Anonymous said...

Jesus, Randy. You are CEO of a fairly huge soulless corporation and you never heard of a focus group? Facepalm. That is like, Corporate Greed 101.

cmarrtyy said...

So prosperous and yet so stupid. People are becoming more cautious about using their credit cards because of hacking - tourists especially. And we are becoming more like Greece with people working off the books. They have to spend cash. The cash crowd also includes the large number of corrupt politicians.

Anonymous said...

Wow, Management 101, DUH! I may be more qualified to run that place than the CEO is - though IMO, CEO's in general are not as smart as they think they are.

Now maybe Danny Meyer's "Martina" will follow suit. Martina is losing a TON of business by not accepting cash.

JQ LLC said...

Ha ha ha. The beginning of the demise of the tech consumer.

A majority of people knew how stupid this system was (and the arrogant dunces at shake shack headquarters finally realized). Now that's actual progress.

Anonymous said...

So many arm chair critics who couldn't run a blind dog into a wall much less a successful business. I like their burgers and I'm guessing many other as well since they are still expanding.

Giovanni said...

In other news, Danny Meyer’s formerly cashless pizzeria Martina is now accepting bitcoin, IOUs and bushels of wheat and corn as a form of payment.

Gojira said...

Giovanni, I once read in a medieval history book that in the 14th and 15th centuries, the Dukes of Lancaster accepted greyhounds and roses in lieu of cash as tribute payments. So I think you're on to something.

Anonymous said...

@1:20pm: Having run two successful businesses, I can tell you one way NOT to make money, namely: turn away customers who have cold, hard cash in their hands! Which is what Shake Shack, Martina and other places have been doing. CEO's dumber than a box of rocks.

I'm fascinated by the apparent wish of these owners to kill off their businesses just for the sake of being "trendy" about payments.

PS: Running a blind dog into a wall is animal abuse.

Giovanni said...

@Gojira. I like it. Since it seems we are living in medieval times again I guess that means Fake Shack’s Danny Meyer is just trying to keep up with the times. I can't wait for the little genius market disruptor to roll out his next big idea, like a Currency Free Bank, or Blind Seeing Eye Dogs, or perhaps he could sell Fishless Sushi, or even an Animal Free Petting Zoo.

Anonymous said...

Hmmmm....Shake Shack has a relentless pursuit of profits? Duh....what else do you people think they are in business for other than making money? It is not for your personal privilege and culinary pursuit of pleasure people. No company is. Every company is about making money. That is why it is called a business. Wake up people. You have money, they have what you want....a pretty damn good burger. As to the cash or card routine...well what's wrong with having both available? Cash lines can be on one side and the rest of the people who prefer to use cashless procedures can use the kiosks. I am a senior citizen and I went to Shake Shack on Astor Place for the first time recently.....I found the entire Kiosk experience a pleasure and the food so tasty that I am ready to go back long as my arteries can take it. We are not exactly watching calories here.

Anonymous said...

Just weighing into say that I am from California and Shack Shake is not even in the same competitive league as In-N-Out. I only bring up In-N-Out because Shake Shake is so obviously desperate to compete with them. By comparison, Shack Shack's food is way more expensive, less wholesome, and sloppily assembled by slow and apathetic employees. I'm not even a huge In-N-Out fan, I just get enraged by propaganda as well as lazy assumptions.

Shake Shack is an utterly superficial facsimile and I am being rather complimentary when I say that. Here is my final word on the subject. At a Shack Shake look at the staff, they are no different from that of any other sad fast food restaurant. But go to an In-N-Out and you will see a very contented staff who smile genuinely and work hard because they value their job and take pride in it. If you think I am being fanciful here, then you have never been to an In-N-Out Burger.

Anonymous said...

I go to the fast food joint for the good, FAST food, not the great service- cant have it all at low prices. I live near that Shake and would have been a regular long before this but insisted on my right to pay CASH. This is a trend from the very top of the corp ladder, where wall St and govt together are pushing and manipulating us into a cashless society so everything we do can be tracked. Fkkk that, if its unofficial censorship of LEGAL tender? Take a pass to the next restaurant.

Unknown said...

Yes I went into this Shake Shack on Astor Place to try one of their tasty burgers and was quite surprised to find out that they did not accept cash. I walked right out of their without placing an order....we are not yet a cashless society maybe one day...but as of today...Cash is King!!!