Shake Shack To Go Public, Become Subject Of Endless “I Ate There Before…” Rants

If you live in a city that doesn’t have a Shake Shack, you probably have a friend (or a Facebook acquaintance) who has remarked on how much better the food is there than at other burger joints. Now comes the news that Shake Shack is going public and planning to continue its growth, meaning you may finally be able to judge for yourself, but that the aforementioned friend will now regularly refer to how he or she used to wait in line for hours when there was only one Shack blah blah blah.

In a filing from earlier today with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Shake Shack’s owners detailed their plans to raise upwards of $100 million by selling publicly available shares on the New York Stock Exchange. The public foodery would trade under the symbol “SHAK.”

Initially launched in 2001 as just a hot dog cart in Manhattan’s Madison Square (the park, not the arena), Shake Shack opened a dedicated building in the park in 2004, and has since expanded to 63 locations in six states and Washington, D.C., and overseas outlets.

In total, those locations brought in around $140 million in 2013, up from $81 million the year before.

According to the filing, the company plans to add 10 new company-owned locations in the U.S. each year “for the foreseeable future.” These will primarily be outside of the NYC metro area where the Shack dominates, but the company says there is enough desire for its product to make these new stores profitable.

“We believe there is tremendous whitespace opportunity to expand in both existing and new U.S. markets,” reads the filing, which says that Shake Shack has made infrastructure investments in advance of this planned growth. “Based on our experience, and analysis and research conducted for us by eSite, we believe that over the long-term we have the potential to grow our current domestic company-operated Shack footprint to at least 450 Shacks by opening domestic company-operated Shacks in new and existing markets.”

However, the company isn’t putting any strict timeline on reaching that 450 location goal.

Shake Shack says that its mantra going forward is “The Bigger We Get, The Smaller We Need To Act,” which it believes embodies a “commitment to continue to make decisions that focus on the core of who we are, staying true to the principles of Enlightened Hospitality.”

Regardless of how big the company gets, there will inevitably be those who claim that “it was better before…” or states, “I don’t go there anymore since…”

Meanwhile, I live only a few blocks from a Shack here in Philadelphia and this story is making me forget about those Totino’s pizza rolls I was going to thaw out and eat tonight.

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.