The Woof! menu mirrors the indulgence of Shake Shack’s wildly successful human milkshakes, burgers, and fries. It came about when the Shake Shack team noticed how many dog owners visited its flagship Madison Square Park location in New York and decided to make a way for pets to enjoy its offerings, too.
Shake Shack and Sweetgreen also allow dogs in outdoor seating areas at stores. Every Shake Shack with a patio is dog-friendly, and many are equipped with dog parking spots, water bowls, treats, and more. Sweetgreen’s outdoor seating is also dog-friendly, and its newly opened Montrose location in Houston has an outdoor area specifically created for four-legged friends.
“With our Montrose location, we wanted to cater to Houston’s dog culture,” Nagarajan says. “We did this by creating a dog patio, shaded by trees, that has water and hooks for the dogs. Offering a space in the neighborhood where locals can enjoy a meal without having to leave their dog outside allows customers to feel welcome to stay and relax.”
Both brands have indoor seating where dogs are not allowed due to health codes, but both allow service animals inside their restaurants, as is generally required by the Americans with Disabilities Act. These guidelines vary from state to state, but in order to accommodate customers with various abilities at all locations, both Sweetgreen and Shake Shack require all staff to have a basic service animal training.
MUTTS sets up shop entirely outside, so dogs are welcome in every eating area. But as the brand grows (and if and when it franchises in cold-weather states), it will have to contend with the challenge of arranging indoor, dog-friendly seating that works with health codes.
Because of the off-leash parks at MUTTS, the concept had to establish stringent safety and security measures. The locked, off-leash parks are accessible by members only, which ensures better security and also adds an ongoing revenue source for the brand. To become a member, dog owners must prove that their dog is at least four months old, has all vaccinations, and has been spayed or neutered. MUTTS’ signage and its website remind owners that they assume responsibility for their dog. “If a dog displays any kind of aggressive behavior, we ask them to leave or don’t let them in,” Boggs says. “I might feel a little skittish walking my dog, but I would know it’s safe at MUTTS. It’s locked and you’ve got a community of like-minded people.”
Any logistical challenges that come with offering a dog-friendly space pale in comparison to the benefits it brings. Shake Shack and Sweetgreen representatives say their dog treats have been hugely popular with dog owners, and MUTTS is expanding quickly throughout Texas with plans to venture into other states soon.
And at the end of the day, what brand doesn’t want to attract cute canine customers? “When I’m having a bad day, I just go out to the park,” Boggs says. “I just watch the dogs and the happy people, and it all evaporates.”