- Shake Shack plans to test its ordering kiosks at more of its restaurants across America, it said during its second-quarter earnings call on August 2.
- Shake Shack opened its first cashierless location in New York City in October. The intention was to move toward cashless stores with digital-ordering and payment systems.
- By mid-2018, the fast-casual burger joint had abandoned these plans, in part because of customer backlash. It now plans to test automated kiosks in conjunction with cashiers.
- We visited the cashless Astor Place Shake Shack location and found the experience to be much easier than the reviews made it out to be.
Shake Shack has shared more about its plans to grow its fleet of ordering kiosks in its restaurants across America.
In late 2017, Shake Shack set out to go cashless, opening its first kiosk-only location in New York City. Though the intention was to transition to a more seamless operation and become more digitally inclined, the plan backfired — by May of this year, the chain had already abandoned its plans to go completely cashless.
On an earnings call in May, CEO Randy Garutti said, „Some of the things we’ve clearly seen is that our guests do often want to pay with cash.“
One Yelp user wrote in a review of the Astor Place location in Manhattan: „The new kiosk ordering system is the worst. It makes this Shake Shack ‚card only‘ and you can barely customize your food the way you can when you order with an actual human being. The kiosks are also supposed to make things go quicker, but the wait is even longer than at a Shake Shack where you can order with an actual person.“
Though the plans to go cashless were abandoned, the fast-casual chain still plans on testing kiosks in some of its newest locations, though those kiosks will be in conjunction with cashiers who accept cash. There are currently five locations with this hybrid model, and Shake Shack said in its August 2 earnings call that it plans to test it in areas with high labor costs, like the San Francisco Bay Area and Seattle.
Shake Shack isn’t the only fast-food chain with plans to automate some of its operations. McDonald’s recently announced that it planned to add ordering kiosks to 1,000 of its stores every quarter for the next two years, and Panera has committed to digitizing its ordering process.
We visited the Astor Place Shake Shack in New York City to see what it was like to order at the kiosks. Here’s what we found:
Though Shake Shack’s plan is to test a hybrid store model with both cashiers and kiosks, the location on Astor Place is unique in that it has replaced all of its cashiers with kiosks. Upon walking in, I was directed to the kiosks by two employees who were stationed near the entrance.
There were close to 10 kiosks at the front of the store, and they were set up in a semicircle. I went pretty early in the day, and no one who walked in had to wait in line.
The welcome screen on the kiosk directed me to tap on a category. My options were drinks, retail, flat-top dogs, burgers and chicken, crinkle-cut fries, shakes and custard, and beer and wine.
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Source: Business insider