COVID-19 has hurt Shake Shack’s licensed business, too. Beginning in China in January and subsequently around the global, licensed partners witnessed dramatic drops in sales, the brand said. Stadium business is fully closed. And of the airport locations that have remained opened, they are currently seeing a “small fraction” of the travelers they welcomed just a few weeks ago before travel was curtailed.
Throughout the U.K. and Middle East, Shake Shacks are mostly closed or running on modified hours with delivery only. In Asia, restaurants shut the doors in the Philippines; sales have been “deeply impacted” in Japan, Korea, and Singapore.
One bright spot, Shake Shack said, is that business in Shanghai and Hong Kong has begun to see a slow, but steady rebound toward the end of March from low points earlier in Q1.
But at this time, just 70 of 120 total licensed Shake Shacks remain open.
Shake Shack, with immediate effect, also decided to expand its integrated delivery partners to now include Postmates, DoorDash, Caviar, and Uber Eats. All will be available over the next week or two. The brand moved to a non-exclusive agreement with Grubhub in response.
Shake Shack said its supply chain remains in good order. It drew down on its revolving credit facility of $50 million, March 24 to enhance financial flexibility. As of April 1, the company said it had $104 million in cash and marketable securities on hand, “providing adequate liquidity for the foreseeable future.”
Other measures in the works
Shake Shack said about 20 percent of its existing home office headcount has been furloughed or laid off. Furloughed employees are receiving ongoing pay through at least April 8 and have the option to keep or be paid out for earned PTO. During the time of the furlough, Shake Shack is also paying 100 percent of employers and employee medical premiums, through July 1. Salary reductions were taken across all executive and home office employees. A hiring freeze was implement company wide as well.
Shake Shack added its reviewing operating hours in addition to potential closings of operations where sales are not at levels sufficient to stay open. All new design and construction of future restaurants was suspended (with the exception of a handful of units close to completion). No new locations are expected to open at this time however.
Non-essential capital expenditures were suspended and the board of directors’ cash compensation was deferred. The brand noted the stimulus bill might benefit employees and overall operations, but it didn’t provide further details.
In terms of precautionary measures, Shake Shack is fully paying any employee diagnosed with COVID-19 for two weeks while they are out of work. And they are eligible to continue to receive pay through the company’s short-term disability plan, which is available to all employees.
Shake Shack offers free access to a 24-hour emotional support helpline and is trying to drive awareness to its HUG Fund, which is an option employees can pay in to and help each other in times of need.
Some creative efforts
Shake Shack recently launched cook-at-home ShackBurger Meal kits in collaboration with online marketplace Goldbelly. The ready-to-cook boxes are shipped with all the staples needed to recreate a classic ShackBurger at home. They’re available for shopping nationwide.
The brand also partnered with famed fine-dining beef purveyor Pat LaFrieda on a first-of-its-kind steakhouse meal, Steak Frites. Beginning March 28, Shake Shack started serving a to-go meal featuring a 10-ounce Pat LaFrieda ribeye steak, served with crinkle cut fries, watercress greens, ShackSauce and horseradish. The Steak Frites are available via drive thru from the Shake Shack food truck in the Paramus, New Jersey, parking lot, and for pickup at the West Village restaurant while supplies last.
Shake Shack has provided more than 4,500 meals to 65-plus hospitals, shelters, firehouse, human societies, and food banks.