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How Shake Shack builds products and experiences customers crave

Shake Shack Achieved


increase in likelihood to recommend


increase in
Shack locations

Most successful
LTO launch


Shake Shack, founded in New York in 2004, historically relied on ‘gut-feeling’ to make decisions about their product, brand and business. As the fast-casual restaurant scaled to more than 500 locations globally, Shake Shack has learned to balance data and intuition, using Qualtrics as an end-to-end solution to deliver experiences that are fueled by customer insights. Through its listening efforts, Shake Shack is able to understand clearly what makes their food so craveable and continue enhancing its products and marketing to reach a growing customer base.

Linking customer experience and brand metrics

In a saturated market, consumer expectations are growing and diners are ever-conscious about how they spend their money. Qualtrics enables Shake Shack to understand perception and value for their guests around the world from pre-and-post visit, to identify elements of success and opportunities to improve. These insights have helped them manage significant cost pressure while realizing revenue growth and maintaining value scores.

Shake Shack’s brand tracker goes beyond typical metrics and focuses on experience drivers and competitive differentiation. By combining customer, brand and culinary research, Shake Shack is able to act quickly to provide the right experiences and messaging to its customers. For example, data revealed important differences in values across regions. Texans preferred to know Shake Shack serves 100% Angus beef and Californians wanted to know the company does not use antibiotics or added hormones in any of its meat.

As an early adopter of Qualtrics AI capabilities, Shake Shake is easily able to cut through data to find insights, themes, and actionable recommendations faster than ever before.

An ingredient-led approach informed by insights and marketing

Limited Time Offers (LTOs) create memorable experiences for customers and serve as a compelling reason for new consumers to try a restaurant. But getting them wrong could cost millions of dollars.

Before implementing the right research, Shake Shack rolled out a Cascara Shake and faced significant challenges marketing the product. The problem was not the flavor, which is based on part of the coffee bean, instead it was in the challenge of how the new concept was communicated to guests.

After using Qualtrics for product research Shake Shack has been better equipped to land new products. When rolling out new lemonade offerings, they relied on quantitative and qualitative learnings to rename “Bergamot Lemonade” as “Harvest Berry Lemonade,” highlighting the elements of citrus and tartness in their messaging. This simple change led the product, which had previously scored the lowest appeal, to become the highest performing in a trio of beverages, outselling the other options two to one.

But Shake Shack didn’t stop there. Building on previous success, they designed a product targeting new and lapsed guests to bring them into the restaurant. The Hot Ones Chicken Sandwich drove the largest visitation rate from new and lapsed guests of the company’s LTOs to date, out performing previous launches in both acquisition of guests and repeat purchase of guests.

Since formalizing the launch process with insights and testing, Shake Shack has doubled the the percent of category units sold for their average LTO and continue to see year-over-year improvement.

Removing silos for streamlined decision making

With one centralized platform for customer, product and market insights with Qualtrics, Shake Shack has broken down silos between executives, culinary researchers, the marketing team and more, allowing for more informed decision making around everything including the names of menu items, prices, and the ingredients they use.

By embracing technology to generate a holistic, real-time picture of the key drivers affecting its brand and customer experience, Shake Shack is connecting more deeply with its core guests and winning new fans every day.

Charles Frankievich

Charles Frankievich

Sr. Director Consumer Insights and Action at Shake Shack

“The Qualtrics platform allows for quick, scalable analysis that can be easily shared across our organization to make fast decisions and support the intuition that has underpinned our success to date, We can share insights across our ops, finance, culinary and tech teams to more deeply understand what people love about our food and ensure that our guest experience both in stores and over digital channels like our app and website meets and exceeds their expectations.”

Shake Shack serves elevated versions of American classics using only the best ingredients. It’s known for its delicious made-to-order Angus beef burgers, crispy chicken, hand-spun milkshakes, house-made lemonades, beer, wine, and more. With its high-quality food at a great value, warm hospitality, and a commitment to crafting uplifting experiences, Shake Shack quickly became a cult-brand with widespread appeal. Shake Shack’s purpose is to Stand For Something Good®, from its premium ingredients and employee development, to its inspiring designs and deep community investment. Since the original Shack opened in 2004 in NYC’s Madison Square Park, the Company has expanded to over 500 locations system-wide, including over 320 in 33 U.S. States and the District of Columbia, and over 175 international locations across London, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore, Mexico City, Istanbul, Dubai, Tokyo, Seoul and more.


Quick Service Restaurant



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