A collaborative culture with shifting responsibilities is the burger brand’s recipe for success.

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What It's Like Inside Shake Shack

Image credit:

Adam Friedberg

4 min read

This story appears in the
March 2020

issue of
Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

In 2003, as the story goes, New York City restaurateur Danny Meyer scribbled some burger-based ideas on the back of a napkin. That eventually became the inaugural menu for Shake Shack, an outdoor food stand in Manhattan’s Madison Square Park. The burger concept has now grown into an $839 million restaurant chain with 281 locations worldwide. The current menu has stayed close to Meyer’s original vision (cheeseburger, mushroom burger, crinkle-cut fries) even as new items are conceived of and tested at the company’s Innovation Kitchen in New York’s West Village. The corporate team works just upstairs, and like the brand, their jobs are constantly evolving: A shift manager was sent to Shanghai and an art director helped out with the brand’s IPO. Here’s how the team creates success out of such simplicity. 

Michael Reid / Shift manager

“Because of Shake Shack, I’ve literally seen the world — for new store openings, I’ve been to Hong Kong, Shanghai, and the Philippines. It’s been phenomenal. Even though they spoke differen