How Shake Shack Grows Its Brand Through CX

If you’ve been to one of Shake Shack’s 300-plus locations around the world, chances are you’ve had to wait in line. The restaurant draws a crowd with its fresh ingredients and elevated take on fast food. The entire brand is built around great food and great service, and it’s a hit with customers. Shake Shack stands out because of its fine dining-inspired approach to burgers and fries. The restaurant uses real ingredients, fresh flavors and great chefs to make food to order. The wait might be a little longer, but customers don’t mind standing in line to get amazing food. According to CMO Jay Livingston, delivering a strong customer experience has been part of Shake Shack’s brand since the beginning. The company doesn’t just want to use the fine-dining approach in its food, it also wants to use fine dining to inspire its experience. The company aims to provide great hospitality and an elevated guest experience. Employees offer personalized service and customize each meal instead of simply rushing to put food on the plate. Employees at all levels give their best to customers, no matter where they work or how busy they are. Every Shake Shack employee spends their first five days at the company working all the stations in a restaurant, including prepping the food, manning the grill and working the cash register. Livingston says it instills in employees, even those who don’t work in the actual restaurants, the work that goes into delivering fine dining food to customers quickly and hammers home the brand promise. Shake Shack uses customer experience to build its brand by being transparent and authentic in every interaction it has with customers. The company is moving to become more data-driven to better understand guests and test ideas more quickly. That hasn’t changed during the COVID-19 pandemic, as Shake Shack has been forced to speed up the buildout of its digital products. Customers can now order online or through the app for pickup and delivery as a way to expand the experience to what customers need most. It even rolled out a DIY burger kit so customers can make their favorite Shake Shack burgers at home and will unveil drive-thrus in 2021—all in the name of delivering great food just how customers want it. Shake Shack has a strong online presence and regularly collaborates with top chefs on its social channels to show their process for making food. The collaborations give guests a behind-the-scenes look into how the food is developed and cooked. The goal isn’t to sell hamburgers, it’s to connect with guests on a deeper level and involve them in the many sides of Shake Shack. Customer experience is the foundation of Shake Shack’s brand. Continually developing CX and relating it back to the major brand promises of elevated food and service has helped Shake Shack see incredible growth. Blake Morgan is the bestselling author of The Customer of the Future. Sign up for her new course here. For regular updates on customer experience, sign up for her weekly newsletter here.

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