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Shake Shack addresses waiting woes with test pilot of ordering app

Fast casual burger chain Shake Shack is hoping to compete with fast food chains by testing a new mobile ordering application for iOS customers at its Midtown East location, as its loyal fans support its growth.

The location is the first and only one participating in the pilot program, and as of now Shake Shack is mum on any specific plans for expanding the scope of the app. But if the test run is a success, the company is sure to accelerate rollout to more of its almost 100 locations, many of which experience the enviable problem of line congestion due to the brand’s popularity.

Mobile ordering
Users of the app will be able to order directly from Shake Shack’s menu and choose from a list of available pick up times, spaced at 15 minute increments. Their food will be prepared to correlate with the pickup time, ensuring a seamless ordering experience that will cut the wait usually associated with ordering from Shake Shack.

The app will run the gamut of mobile ordering essentials, including a location finder, a list of previous orders and favorites culled from them, tools to keep track of food allergies, access to nutritional information, a component that allows users to view current promos and events and an outlet to connect to Shake Shack’s social media channels.

And for an added kick, users can tune in to a live feed of the proceedings at the original Shake Shack in Madison Square Park through the Shack Cam feature.

The brand is open about the problems that it could encounter with the pilot of the app; a big reason why its launch is being limited to one location. In a press release, CEO Randy Garutti stressed the importance of taking time with the app’s rollout and listening to customer response in order to be able to make the appropriate tweaks before expansion.

An Android version of the app is in development.

The app’s Shack Cam feature

Joining the ranks
With its app, Shake Shack aligns itself with many of its food and beverage competitors who have leveraged a mobile ordering app, a platform that has been seeing exceptional success in the fast casual sector. Chipotle stands out as an example of an analogous brand which has both innovated and relied on its mobile ordering offering to reduce in-store congestion and bring accessible transactions directly to the consumer, especially in the aftermath of its notorious E.coli outbreak (see story).

And with the rise of chatbots providing a smooth way for customers to interact with their favorite brands, Facebook is taking things a step further by letting consumers open up a full window of products and shopping options that are all purchasable directly through the app, providing good tidings for anyone betting on the advancement of mobile as a viable home for transactions (see story).