THEY’RE on the menu for Russian oligarchs and Middle Eastern royals, and you can get one at London’s Covent Garden. So why haven’t Shackburgers hit our shores?
The burger chain that sprouted from a single kiosk in Manhattan’s Madison Square Park has exploded into a multinational success story — but Australians have been left to salivate in vain. As a nation that devours tens of millions of burgers a year in our endless quest to find the perfect specimen, we have so far been neglected in Shake Shack’s global expansion.
We at news.com.au find this patently unfair. On behalf of the nation’s burger aficionados, we implore Shake Shack chief executive Randy Garutti to make the move Down Under and take a bite from our $4 billion burger market.
He’ll find plenty of the “superfans” the company’s business model relies on — those willing to line up down the street to get their hands on a ShackBurger from one of just two outlets in their city.
Devotees are already pleading on the chain’s Trip Adviser page to “please come to Australia!” Just don’t get into the question of whether to launch in Sydney or Melbourne, unless you want to spark a foodie war.
In case an unfortunate cultural stereotype is at play here, we’d like to assure Mr Garutti that the Australian palette is more sophisticated than Neil Perry would have him believe. While beetroot was a standard burger ingredient several decades ago, we have moved on. And, although we live more than 15,000km away from the original shack, our devotion to finding the world’s best burger is unparalleled.
Yet the tragic state of affairs is that we have a better chance of getting our hands on aShake Shack T-shirt than a sizzling Angus beef-filled bun.
While former parent company Union Square Hospitality Group trademarked the Shake Shack name in Australia, Israel and Singapore several years ago, Mr Garutti would not be drawn on the timing of any future plans when contacted by news.com.au.
Mr Garutti, we beseech you to put us at the top of your list. You won’t regret it.
The almighty burger reigns supreme in Australia’s fast food market and, although brands like McDonald’s have been under attack from healthier options, our voracious appetite for gourmet buns has not abated.
We hope you aren’t put off by the plethora of independent burger shops that have been thriving in your absence, tapping into our appetite for the slowed-down approach to fast food spearheaded by Shake Shack founder Danny Meyer.
With his pioneering anti-chain approach based on a self-described philosophy of “enlightened hospitality”, Meyer can be credited with transforming global tastes. He was the first to gauge customers’ willingness to wait for a made-to-order product, cooked with high-quality ingredients and served in a boutique setting with a welcoming atmosphere.
Shake Shack is the Messina Gelato of burger joints, but after a decade in business it is now a publicly listed company worth more than $1.6 billion. Its stockmarket debut raised $112 million in January, and its stock price more than tripled after the company announced its first-quarter earnings in May.
There are now outlets in more than a dozen major cities from London to Istanbul to Dubai, totalling 41 shacks in the United States and 29 overseas.
A Sydney Shake Shack would make that an even 30.
Sorry, Melburnians — We are the tourism capital.
ON THE MENU AT THE SHACK
In case you’re unaware of what you’re missing out on, the Shake Shack menu includes:
● Angus beef burgers on Martin’s potato rolls with a slightly spicy, sweet and sour secret sauce
● Crinkle-cut cheese fries and craft beer
● Vienna beef and smoked chicken and apple bratwurst hotdogs, topped with beer-marinated shallots and cheese sauce
● Frozen custard desserts, called “concretes”, made in unique flavours that change daily
● Milkshakes made from said frozen custard.