Is a Drive-Thru on Brand for Shake Shack?

An operational question spurred branding introspection at the premium burger joint

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A high-quality yet casual ambiance once compelled New Yorkers to line up for fresh food at restaurateur Danny Meyer’s hot dog stand in Manhattan’s Madison Square Park. Meyer’s message to customers in the early aughts was a fresh one: Get premium food from one of the city’s culinary greats—on your lunch break.

The hot dog stand became Shake Shack, an upscale burger shop exclusive to just a few locales. The slow build-up was sensational. With the element of exclusivity to its advantage, consumers lined up when a Shack came to their city.



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