The nation's first Shake Shack drive-thru is opening Monday in Maple Grove, serving up its ShackBurgers and crinkle-cut fries to people on the go.
Shake Shack has been envisioning drive-thru service for some time, said Randy Garutti, chief executive of the New York-based company. To make it happen, executives have rethought the fundamental workflow of the restaurant.
Shake Shack workers typically assemble, and sometimes cook, orders after they are placed, leading customers to wait a bit longer than at other fast-food providers. But with people in cars, long wait times create the prospect of traffic jams, slow-moving lines and lost business.
In Maple Grove, drive-thru orders will be fulfilled in a separate kitchen from orders for people who walk in for sit-down or takeout service. "We'll be learning a lot from this location and will continue to optimize and adapt as we roll out more of these formats next year," Garutti said.
The company, which has about 220 locations in the U.S. and 100 in other countries, plans to add up to 10 more drive-thrus in 2022.
Shake Shack's drive-thru will open at 11 a.m. Monday at the Shoppes at Arbor Lakes location, 12351 Elm Creek Boulevard N. It will have two drive-thru lanes.
Customers will be able to order directly in the lanes as well as by pre-ordering for pickup via the Shake Shack app and website.
In order to help mitigate long lines, the Shack will take orders at multiple points, based on demand. For every sandwich sold on Monday, $1 will go to Cross Services, a food shelf in nearby Rogers.
New York restaurateur Danny Meyer launched this fast-food phenomenon 20 years ago from a hot dog cart in Manhattan's Madison Square Park. The burgers are considered to be on the upper end of the fast-food hierarchy.
Shake Shack went public in 2015. Meyer launched his first restaurant, the upscale Union Square Cafe, in 1985 and has unveiled a number of acclaimed restaurants since then.