Joining other brands that are trying to cut down on customer wait time, Shake Shack launched a mobile ordering app at its Midtown East Manhattan location in New York City.
Called Shack App, the platform allows users to select food and choose an available pickup time—listed in 15-minute increments—and then the food is cooked to order.
For now, Shake Shack is testing the app at this one location, and a timeline hasn’t been established for future use. The restaurant collaborated with several organizations for development, including mobile product agency Fuzz, mobile ordering platform Olo, guest engagement platform Paytronix, and digital experience testing firm Applause.
Noah Glass, founder and CEO of Olo, says mobile and online ordering is growing exponentially—sometimes doubling on an annual basis—and that it’s not just popular with the millennial generation.
“We see it permeating all demographics in the U.S. as customers embrace technology to fit their busy lifestyles. These are diners looking for ease, speed, and convenience when it comes to getting their food,” he says. “Sometimes that’s a mom with two kids using curbside ordering to get a fast and customized meal without getting the kids out of the car; sometimes it’s a young professional who has 15 minutes for lunch and needs to maximize away-from-desk time.”
Shack App users can also keep track of food allergies, access nutritional information, and stay updated on the latest Shake Shack events and promotions through the app, which sends guests a text alert when their order is ready.
“From an experiential perspective, every person who orders online arrives to pick up their meal, and walks past all others waiting in line to place an order. This is a literal advertisement for mobile ordering that we call ‘the demonstration effect,’” Glass says, adding that this effect is helpful for trendy urban brands like Sweetgreen that often have lines out the door during rush.
“Watching others grab their food quickly and not standing in line entices those waiting to, next time, order ahead instead,” he says. “We believe that organic exposure to a faster, simpler dining experience will help grow use of mobile ordering until it soon becomes the normal way to order.”
In the kitchen, mobile orders through the Shack App appear just as any other order, and Glass says digital ordering alleviates manual work from restaurant staff, who used to key in orders.
“The app manages demand, so that in-house and app guests receive the same level of attention and service,” he says.
Glass says restaurants experience a lift in average ticket sizes after deploying mobile ordering since customers tend to order more in the digital environment, whether for themselves or more people.
Restaurants also see more customer frequency as a result of customers being able to save favorite menu items and skip the line, he says, making the end-to-end experience more convenient.
“The Shack App marks a new era for Shake Shack,” says Randy Garutti, CEO of Shake Shack, in a statement. “We’ve got a lot to learn, and we intend to take our time listening to our guests and tweaking the app before launching it in additional markets.”
By Alex Dixon