Shake Shack IPO Could Make it a Billion-Dollar Brand

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Shake Shack, which just turned 10 in June, surprised investors by filing for its rumored initial public offering (ticker: SHAK) today that could see the brand valued at up to $1 billion, according to Bloomberg

Among the nuggets in its IPO prospectus, the New York-based premium burger chain lists its product placement successes:

Shake Shack has been fortunate to receive considerable product placement in movies, TV shows and other media without any cost to the Company. In fact, Shake Shack has been able to charge fees for these location shoots, which have included scenes from the motion pictures Something Borrowed and Tower Heist, as well as the acclaimed HBO series The Newsroom. We have also been featured in segments on The Daily Show, Saturday Night Live, CBS Sunday Morning and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.[more]

In addition to its “Shack-onomics” business model, chef Danny Meyer’s eatery, which has expanded from NYC’s Madison Square Park to 31 stores in the US and 27 locations overseas, primarily in the Middle East with a flagship in London, outlined its prospects for growth in the US (its biggest immediate opportunity) and abroad:

As we grow, we will continue to live by one principle to ensure the success of both our new and existing restaurants: “The Bigger We Get, The Smaller We Need To Act.” This mantra is central to our Stand For Something Good vision and encompasses our commitment to continue to make decisions that focus on the core of who we are, staying true to the principles of Enlightened Hospitality.)

The international mission of Shake Shack is to export the best of the American fine casual experience, spreading Enlightened Hospitality to communities around the world, while generating cash flow to help fuel the Company’s growth.

The brand also outlined its marketing philosophy:

Marketing Strategy

We are today’s roadside burger stand and this identity anchors our marketing efforts. The premium positioning and brand voice, derived from the spirit, integrity and humor of Shake Shack, are reinforced by our contemporary, responsible designs and hospitable team members who Stand For Something Good. We believe that our guests appreciate the experience of coming to Shake Shack as a community gathering place and, thus, the heart of our marketing strategy is to communicate and connect with our guests both at our Shacks and through social media.

Stand For Something Good

Stand For Something Good is an invitation for our guests to align with Shake Shack’s commitment to all that is good in the world and a reflection of how Shake Shack embraces these values both internally and externally. We are dedicated to using sustainable materials and equipment, such as handmade tabletops constructed from reclaimed bowling alleys. We source all-natural, hormone and antibiotic-free beef to make our proprietary burger blend because we believe there are no shortcuts to quality. Recently, we have added a Stand For Something Good TV at each Shack to tell our story to our guests through photos, graphics and informative imagery containing information on our suppliers, community relationships and company initiatives.

The essential components of Stand For Something Good are displayed in each Shack and listed below:

• Good Ingredients—All-natural proteins, vegetarian fed, humanely raised and source verified, with no hormones or antibiotics. We pride ourselves on sourcing premium ingredients from like-minded producers.

• Good n’ Green—Sustainable sourcing and business practices throughout the supply chain.

• Good Bones—Caring enough to design the Shack experience so people want to stay and using reclaimed materials whenever possible.

• Good Neighbors—We are all about our hood! We strive to be the best employer and citizen of each community we call home.

Social Media

Much like we design our Shacks to be community gathering places, we execute a social media strategy that creates an online, on-brand community gathering place. Our guests and fans easily connect with us through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr and Pinterest. We recognize the impact of social media on today’s consumers and we use these platforms to share information with our guests about new menu items, new Shack openings and other relevant Shake Shack information. Currently, we have approximately 126,000 Facebook fans, 139,000 Instagram followers, and 33,000 Twitter followers. We communicate with our fans in creative and organic ways that both strengthen our connection with them and increase brand awareness. In June 2014, we ranked #10 on Restaurant Social Media Index’s top 250 restaurant brands, which is measured on influence, sentiment and engagement.

Community and Charitable Partners

As a mirror of its community, each Shack focuses on conveying a consistent national brand message and on tailoring marketing efforts to each Shack. We always have menu items that feature local ingredients and beers that are specific to each Shack’s community. We also aim marketing efforts at local events which help position Shake Shack as a premium brand that is connected to the community through participating in local celebrations and developing relationships with local chefs and restaurants. For instance, from June 9-13, 2014, our Madison Square Park Shack celebrated The Decade of Shack, its 10-year anniversary. We collaborated with five well-known chefs, each of whom crafted a special-edition burger for one day during the week. Outside of local events, each Shack has one regionally-themed concrete, which has the added benefit of driving semi-annual charitable contributions. The Shack in Miami Beach, for instance, features the “Vice Crispy Treat,” and donates 5% of this item’s sales to the Miami Children’s Hospital.

Shack-wide Events

Shake Shack promotes annual events to drive repeat visits, add limited-time-offers and build intrigue among staff and guests. Shacktoberfest, for example, is Shake Shack’s ode to traditional Oktoberfest in which special sausages, beers and desserts are added to the menu for a 10-day period in October. Throughout the year, we offer playful items that surprise and delight our guests such as When Irish Fries Are Smiling on St. Patrick’s Day, as well as Corn Dogs during Memorial Day, the 4th of July and Labor Day weekends.

Since 2012, Shake Shack has held The Great American Shake Sale during the month of May to raise money and awareness for childhood hunger. During The Great American Shake Sale, we encourage guests to donate $2 in exchange for a free cake-themed shake (a $5 value) at their next visit. 100% of these donations go directly to Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign. In May 2014, we raised $338,000 across our domestic company-operated Shacks for this initiative.

Capitalizing on Our Outsized Brand Awareness

The Shake Shack experience has cultivated significant brand awareness relative to the small number of Shacks. We have worked tirelessly to establish a genuine connection with our guests and integrate into their communities through investment in innovative marketing and programming. We utilize various social media outlets to actively engage with our growing online following. In June 2014, we ranked #10 on Restaurant Social Media Index’s top 250 restaurant brands, which is measured on influence, sentiment and engagement. Furthermore, we believe that our press and media impressions and industry recognition are a testament to the strength of our brand.

We were named one of “The 25 Most Innovative Consumer and Retail Brands” in 2014 by Entrepreneur.com, ranked #11 in The Daily Meal’s “101 Best Restaurants in America” for 2013, and were the winner of the 2013 “Most Loved Brand of the Year” from the RIZMY Awards, “Best Burger” at the 2014 South Beach Wine and Food Festival’s Burger Bash and more. Additionally, we give back to the communities in which we operate, and strengthen awareness for philanthropic causes such as Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign. Our marketing focuses on interacting with our guests in an authentic, innovative manner which creates memorable, meaningful experiences. The experience that we provide for our guests and local communities has generated a growing loyal following who promote our brand through word-of-mouth.

We believe that this outsized brand awareness will continue to fuel our growth in existing and new markets.

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