In February, Shake Shack CEO Randy Garutti told analysts that he wants the company to be better at hiring workers that “want to be with us, stay with us, and develop for the long-term.”

To attract employees of that caliber, the fast casual bolstered multiple benefits in 2021, according to the chain’s annual sustainability and workplace report.

This includes increasing paid leave to 12 weeks for birth parents, raising bonding time to four weeks for non-birth parents, extending parental leave benefits to shift managers, and implementing company-wide eligibility for the employee assistance program, which features free counseling services and housing assistance. Shake Shack also continued to pilot its four-day workweek schedule, an initiative that began prior to the pandemic. 

READ MORE: Inside Shake Shack’s Employee Retention Strategy 

Pay has shifted, as well. Last year the burger concept increased wages by $9 million, including more than half of employees receiving raises and new hires getting sign-on bonuses starting in the second quarter. And for workers needing financial assistance, Shake Shack’s HUG (Help Us Give) Fund distributed more than $84,000 in grants to team members, the highest in history. 

“As we move into the next chapter of the Shake Shack story, we remain committed to investing in what makes us so unique: our amazing teams, premium ingredients, innovative digital offerings, incredible spaces, and an uplifting guest experience,” Garutti said in the report. 

As the company grows its workforce, leadership is making an effort to prioritize women and minorities. By 2025, the chain hopes to achieve gender parity across all leadership roles and wants 50 percent of its Shack leadership (general manger, senior general manager, area director, and regional VP of operations) and 30 percent of its Home Office leadership (director, senior director, VP, SVP, and executive) to to be filled by people of color. 

In 2021, Shake Shack increased representation of people of color in Shack leadership by 4 percent and women by nearly 7 percent. 

Here’s how’s diversity looked in 2021:

Overall workforce

  • Women: 53 percent
  • People of Color: 77 percent


Shack management

  • Women: 51 percent
  • People of Color: 70 percent


Shack leadership

  • Women: 30 percent
  • People of Color: 38 percent


Home Office leadership

  • Women: 43 percent
  • People of Color: 15 percent


Throughout 2021, Shake Shack’s created 1,522 new jobs (79 percent people of color, 54 percent women) and internally promoted more than 2,800 workers (73 percent people of color, 56 percent women, almost doubling 2020). 

The fast casual piloted a development program in partnership with Bonfire, a company focused on helping women create systemic change in the workplace. Shake Shack said the educational approach creates “a powerful collective dynamic where women find a sense of belonging, a network for accountability, and a community for support and growth.” 

In terms of diversity, equity, and inclusion, the brand launched an employee resource group for the Asian American and Pacific Islander community and formulated two learning modules as part of its DEI curriculum. 

“With where we plan to be in five years, growing and cultivating a diverse leadership team requires us to identify our gaps and be intentional with our talent strategies,” Idris Stover, director of DEI, said in the report. 

Shake Shack’s report also listed key environmental milestones, including transitioning to-go bags to 100 percent recycled fiber and launching a pilot of plastic free and carbon-negative straws and cutlery in several markets.

Additionally, the chain installed solar panels at five locations, saving the equivalent of 1,427 gallons of gasoline or 29 barrels of crude oil per year, and 30 percent of new stores in 2021 saw a 20 percent reduction in kitchen exhaust system energy usage. 

Employee Management, Fast Casual, Restaurant Operations, Story, Shake Shack