Shake Shack has ended its four-day workweek experiment due to COVID-19. Here’s how the chain is planning to attract new employees.

Shake Shack workers wearing masks and standing in front of a blue background
Shake Shack is pausing its four-day work week test.

Shake Shack started testing a four-day workweek in 2019 to help recruit managers at the fast-growing burger chain.

But Shake Shack, which operates about 340 restaurants in the US and abroad, told Insider that it has stopped offering the scheduling perk to managers. Going forward, the chain is instead focusing on recruiting hourly workers amid a prolonged labor shortage that continues to challenge the restaurant industry.

“Regarding the 4-day work week, it’s currently on pause due to COVID-19,” a Shake Shack spokesperson told Insider in an email. “There’s always a possibility that it could return, but right now Shake Shack’s workplace initiatives are focused on diversity and career growth as these are two things the company has heard from employees are important to them.”

Two years ago, CEO Randy Garutti revealed the four-day work test for store managers during a conference in Las Vegas. At the time, he said supervisors at a handful of stores were working 40 hours in a four-day work period.

Supervisors trialing the new work schedule told Garutti that having three days off improves their lifestyle and finances because they don’t have to pay for an extra day of child care, according to a March 2019 Nation’s Restaurant News article.

“The recruiting possibilities are huge,” Garutti said at the conference.

Recruitment is still a priority for Shake Shack, the company said.

In July, Shake Shack announced plans to spend $10 million to attract and retain both hourly workers and salaried managers. That includes spending $9 million increasing wages for workers at more than two-thirds of its restaurants in 2021, the company said.

Shake Shack is also spending $1 million on hiring bonuses and giving managers perks, like helping them pay their cell phone bills and covering the cost of subscription services like Spotify. The hiring bonus program, which had offered bonuses of $1,000 for managers and $500 for hourly workers, ended on August 31.

Incentivizing restaurant and bar workers has been vital for the restaurant industry, which saw employment fall by 42,000 jobs in August, the first downturn since April 2020. Overall, the leisure and hospitality sector, including restaurants, is down 1.7 million jobs compared to pre-pandemic levels.

Shake Shack
The restaurant industry has suffered job losses throughout the pandemic.

While Shake Shack is temporarily giving up on the four-day workweek perk, restaurant industry veteran Jason Berry told Insider that he plans to launch a test of a four-day workweek for salaried chefs and managers. Each shift would last 12 hours and focus only on dining room or kitchen duties.

Berry, founder of Washington DC-based restaurant group KNEAD Hospitality + Design, said he’s excited about the possibility of recruiting experienced managers who have left the business due to its “grueling” schedule.

“By adding a program that allows for better work/life balance and flexibility, we believe we will cast a wider net and attract those that want to work in this industry but have either left due to the hours required or [been] disincentivized by the typical lifestyle,” Berry said.

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Drive-thrus are getting larger and larger with no end in sight

7-Eleven Drive-thru store
7-Eleven Drive-thru store.

  • Taco Bell just announced plans for a four-lane drive-thru slated for summer 2022.
  • Competing chains are already adding lanes to drive-thrus, Taco Bell just upped the ante.
  • Drive-thrus became crucial to fast food during the pandemic, and chains continue to invest in them.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Taco Bell just released plans for a four-lane drive-thru set to open next summer, and it’s making the inevitable clear: drive-thrus are just going to keep getting bigger.

The new drive-thru concept will be owned by one of the biggest Taco Bell franchisees in the country, with three lanes dedicated to mobile orders alongside a fourth, traditional lane. A contactless food delivery system that “defies gravity” will transport orders from the kitchen above down to cars through a lift system.

Taco Bell drive-thru concept
Taco Bell’s new concept is set to open in summer 2022.

The concept immediately inspired memes and comparisons. So far, it’s been compared to an EZ Pass highway toll booth, a bank, and even the color scheme from the Ryan Gosling movie “Drive.” The comparisons are funny, and frankly the drive-thru does look like a bank, but the concept itself is less ridiculous than it seems at first.

Looking back, drive-thrus getting bigger seems inevitable. Back in 2019 fast food brands ramped up a kind of drive-thru arms race; McDonald’s rolled out new technology to decrease wait times, while traditionally drive-thru-less chains like Chipotle ramped up Chipotlanes. At the same time, Starbucks and Dunkin’ were each experimenting with drive-thru pickup for mobile orders.

The pandemic sped everything up. Suddenly drive-thrus weren’t just a way to do business, they were the primary way customers felt safe visiting restaurants amid closed dining rooms and health concerns. Typically, drive-thrus account for 70% of sales at fast-food chains. But in 2020 chains like Wendy’s and McDonald’s said it was closer to 90%.

To accommodate growing drive-thru traffic, they simply had to get. bigger. Chick-fil-A has been opening double-lane drive-thrus across the country. Starbucks has followed this example as part of its initiative to close lower-performing stores and focusing on mobile and drive-thru locations. The coffee chain has started installing double lanes, too.

McDonald's drive-thru review

McDonald’s, which already has some double-lane drive-thrus, also released a concept for on-the-go stores focused on takeout and delivery orders, with extra lanes for customers who ordered through the app. Like the Taco Bell concept, McDonald’s suggested some orders would even be delivered by conveyor belts.

shake shack drive thru

Shake Shack’s design for its first-ever drive-thrus, planned to open sometime in 2022, skips the traditional single lane step altogether. Instead, the burger chain is jumping right into the multi-lane designs that are growing more popular in the industry, with three lanes to accommodate mobile and on-site orders.

“Why not test out something like this? They can learn an awful lot, and maybe this is the way the market will trend in the long run,” Mark Kalinowski, founder of Kalinowski Equity Research, told Insider. “It’s a futuristic way of thinking, and restaurants are getting more willing to be a little different.”

The COVID-19 pandemic and its variants are still ongoing, but many places in the US have attempted to return to normal life. The reign of drive-thrus is nowhere near over, though, as McDonald’s, Starbucks, and Taco Bell all emphasized how crucial they are to business in just the last few weeks.

Americans have rediscovered their love of drive-thrus, and they’re not going back.

Do you have a story to share about a retail or restaurant chain? Email this reporter at mmeisenzahl@businessinsider.com.

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A brawl outside Shake Shack in Detroit involving up to a dozen young girls was caught on camera

Shake Shack
Shake Shack said it is investigating the incident.

  • A large group of girls were captured fighting outside a Detroit branch of burger chain Shake Shack.
  • The altercation began inside and continued outside in the parking lot, according to Fox 2.
  • Shake Shack told the outlet it was disturbed by what happened and has launched an investigation.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A mass brawl that apparently began inside a Shake Shack branch and spilled out into the parking lot was captured on video.

The altercation, which witnesses say fizzled out after a few minutes, involved a group of 10-12 teenage girls, according to Fox 2.

A witness also suggested that the girls may have been employed there, due to the logo on their shirts, although Insider has been unable to confirm this. Shake Shack did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Witness Jason Taylor told Fox 2: “I’m looking and I see the green burger (logo) on their shirts and I said they’re the Shake Shack girls,” of seeing the group of women brawling in a parking lot outside of the burger chain. “I told my cousin, ‘No Shake Shack today, buddy.'”

Taylor also told the outlet: “A girl flew over the chain with a juice bottle and was hitting the girl in the head with it. I didn’t try to break up anything because it’s Detroit, anything can happen.”

Detroit police said no police report was filed, according to Fox 2.

The fast-food chain told FOX 2 it is “disturbed by what happened and are launching an investigation” and that could mean disciplinary action, adding “safety for customers and staff is number 1.”

There have been several reports of violence at other fast-food premises in recent weeks.

In June, Memphis police reportedly arrested two customers who started a shooting in Burger King because their chicken sandwich had too much hot sauce, as Insider’s Grace Dean reported.

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Your next meal is getting more expensive. Here’s what’s driving the surge in food prices.

grocery store checkout conveyer belt supermarket cashier grocery shopping
  • Foods is getting more expensive at grocery stores and restaurants.
  • Some companies are raising prices, while others are selling smaller quantities for the same price.
  • Supply-chain shortages and poor weather are helping drive higher commodity costs.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Food prices are surging in grocery stores as well as on restaurant menus.

Last week, Chipotle hiked prices for menu items by about 4%, as the cost of labor and ingredients continues to rise amidst a spike in demand. Red Robin and Cracker Barrel have also increased prices by about 3%, The Wall Street Journal reported. The chains may be forced to further hike prices if commodity costs continue to inflate.

In May, US consumer prices hit their highest level in 13 years, jumping 5% from the previous year, as the cost of meat products and baked goods led the surge in food prices, according to the US Department of Labor.

“We’re in a period of unprecedented commodity inflation,” Unilever CEO Alan Jope told investors on Monday.

As a result of increased product costs, some companies including Unilever have begun selling products at the same cost, but in smaller quantities.

Even companies that cater to more frugal budgets have been forced to hike prices. Dollar Tree CEO Michael Witynski said in May that the company has struggled to keep prices low.

Why are food prices surging?

Food prices are rising in tandem with a broader inflation trend in the US. While vehicle and fuel costs have led the surge in consumer prices, food prices have also risen as increased demand meets supply-chain snags. Key commodities have become increasingly difficult to obtain due to shipping delays, the national labor shortage, and severe droughts in key countries.

A global shipping-container shortage – which has about 5.5% of all freighters waiting weeks outside of ports to unload, including several key ports in southern California – has made it difficult to transport goods. The delays have put transportation costs at a premium, as companies compete for limited space on container ships and delivery trucks. Overseas transportation costs between Asia and the US have surged about 250% higher from this time last year, according to online freight marketplace Freightos.

Home Depot has even begun chartering its own container ships in an attempt to side-step rising coats and bring its products into the US faster.

shipping containers
A container cargo ship in Rotterdam Harbour on April 4, 2021 in the Netherlands. Rotterdam is the largest shipping port outside of Asia.

The US labor shortage is also hampering production and transportation, from a truck-driver shortage to restaurants and grocery stores scrambling to find workers. Many companies, including Chipotle and McDonalds, have hiked worker pay, while other companies have provided additional incentives to lure employees back to work. One Jersey Mike’s in California is offering up to $10,000 in hiring bonuses.

Major droughts in countries like Brazil and Argentina are also driving up prices for corn, coffee, and soybeans. Last month, Reuters reported Brazil was facing its worst drought in 91 years. A “megadrought” in California – the state responsible for over 25% of the nation’s food supply – is also expected to have some impact on food prices in the coming months.

Meat prices surged last week due to a ransomware attack on JBS, a supplier that processes about 20-25% of the nation’s beef, chicken, and pork products.

Consumer prices are at a 13-year-high, but they’re showing no signs of flagging. Executives from General Mills and Campbell Soup Company have warned they may be forced to raise prices further if supply-chain issues continue.

A Campbell spokesperson told Insider the entire food industry was experiencing inflation. “Campbell has a variety of tools to offset the inflationary environment, including pricing actions across most of our portfolio to reflect the broad-based increases in input costs.”

As companies continue to hike prices, experts say prices will only even out when the shipping crisis abates, but no one knows how long the upheaval will last.

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Companies across the US are offering workers perks for getting the COVID-19 vaccine. Here’s the running list.

covid vaccine card cdc
ICU nurse Megan Tschacher shows off her vaccination card at UC Health Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins, Colorado on December 14, 2020. Helen H. Richardson/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post/Getty Images

  • Workers across the US can receive extra pay from their employers for receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Many front-line workers are now able to receive the vaccine in various states and localities.
  • So far, almost 34 million people have received one or more doses of the two-shot immunization.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Companies across the US are joining in the largest-ever vaccination effort by offering employees perks if they receive the two-dose COVID-19 vaccine.

Receiving the vaccine is voluntary, but most companies have strongly encouraged employees get the immunization when it’s their turn. The two-dose vaccines, one from Pfizer and BioNtech and the other from Moderna, were emergency approved in the US in December. Since then, almost 34 million people have received one or more doses, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Many states and localities have begun moving from the first phase of vaccinating health care workers and elderly living in long-term care facilities to immunizing front-line workers. With that, some companies are giving workers two to three hours of paid time off per dose received, and others are offering a stipend for employees who voluntarily get the shots when it’s their turn.

Recently, Publix, Petco and AT&T joined the growing list. Here’s the 18 Insider knows about so far:

Know of a company not on this list that’s offering employees time off, pay, or other perks to get vaccinated? Email Natasha, the reporter of this piece, at ndailey@insider.com.

1. Target

Target
Eduardo MunozAlvarez/VIEWpress via Getty Images

Target is offering workers up to four hours of paid time off to get both shots of the vaccine and will pay for Lyft rides up to $15 for employees needing transportation to and from their appointment.

2. Dollar General

dollar general
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The discount chain was the first major retailer to announce an incentive for workers to get vaccinated. Dollar General employees can earn up to four hours of pay for receiving both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and will receive extra time off if they have an adverse reaction.

Read more: What’s coming next for COVID-19 vaccines? Here’s the latest on 11 leading programs.

3. Darden Restaurants

olive garden
Patrons enter an Olive Garden Restaurant. Steve Helber/AP Photo

Darden Restaurants, which owns Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Bahama Breeze, and The Capital Grille, will offer workers four hours of paid time off, two hours per dose, Bloomberg reported. Employees must show proof of their vaccination to earn the time. The company doesn’t require the shots, but strongly encouraged workers to get them.

4. Shake Shack

shake shack
Noam Galai/Getty Images

The burger-and-shake restaurant chain will give workers 3 hours of pay per shot of the two-dose vaccine. Shake Shack didn’t mandate employees receive the vaccine but “strongly encouraged” it.

5. Noodles & Company

Noodles & Company.
Noodles & Company.

Workers will earn up to four hours of paid time off for receiving the vaccine, the company said in a Feb. 10 statement to Insider. The restaurant strongly recommended employees receive the vaccine but did not require it.

6. Kroger

kroger
Kroger logo is seen at one of their stores in Athens, Ohio. Stephen Zenner/SOPA

The grocer is giving employees a one-time $100 payment for getting the vaccine. On top of that, Kroger said it would give associates an added bonus of a $100 store card and 1,000 fuel points to “thank and reward” workers during the pandemic.

7. Trader Joe’s

Trader Joe's.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The grocery retailer will offer all 50,000 employees two hours of pay per dose and allow for flexible scheduling so workers can make it to appointments.

8. Aldi

Aldi store shop
Matthew Horwood/Getty Images

The German grocer will cover employee costs associated with receiving the vaccine and provide two hours of pay for each of the two doses received.

9. Instacart

GettyImages 1153149270
SOPA Images/Getty Images

The app will offer its US and Canada shoppers, who deliver groceries to customers, a $25 stipend to get vaccinated.

10. Lidl

lidl
Leonhard Foeger/File

The German grocery chain is encouraging workers to get vaccinated by offering its US workers $200 in extra pay if they receive the immunization.

11. McDonald’s

GettyImages 185747043
Scott Olson/Getty Images

The fast food chain is giving workers four hours of pay for receiving the vaccine. Though getting the shots is not required, the company said it will connect employees with groups that can answer questions on the vaccination, Restaurant Business reported.

12. Starbucks

starbucks barista drinks
Richard Drew / AP Photo

The coffee chain is offering workers two hours of pay per dose of the COVID-19 vaccine they receive.

13. Chobani

Chobani Greek Yogurt
Sarah Schmalbruch / INSIDER

Chobani will give workers up to six hours of pay, three per dose, for receiving the vaccine, Human Resource Executive reported.

14. Amtrak

Amtrak
AJ Packer/Shutterstock.com

Amtrak is allowing employees to get vaccinated during work hours, and will pay for two hours off if employees provide proof they received the shot. Workers will also be excused with pay for up to 48 hours if they have side effects.

15. JBS USA and Pilgrim’s

jbs meatpacking greely colorado
The JBS meatpacking facility in Greeley, Colo. Chet Strange for The Washington Post via Getty Images

The meat-packing company is offering employees a $100 bonus incentive if they receive the vaccine voluntarily.

16. Petco

petco groomers
Petco groomers. AP Photo/Richard Vogel

The pet-supply retailer told Insider it would offer employees a one-time payment of $75 for getting vaccinated. Plus, it will give a $25 donation to the Petco Partner Assistance Fund for each person who receives their shots.

17. AT&T

AT&T
People walk past the AT&T store in New York’s Times Square, June 17, 2015. Brendan McDermid/Reuters

AT&T is giving employees up to four hours of paid time off per dose, adding up to eight hours total for anyone who needs the hours to get the vaccine, a spokesperson said in an email to Insider. The company is also giving workers access to Castlight, a tool to help them find available vaccines in their area based on eligibility.

18. Publix

Publix grocery store night
Johnny Louis/Getty Images

Publix will give associates a $125 gift card to the store after they get both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine. Workers aren’t required to get the shots at Publix, but they will need to show proof of vaccination. The vaccine is optional, though encouraged, the company said.

19. Walmart and Sam’s Club

Walmart

Beginning May 18, Walmart and Sam’s Club will give its associates below the store manager level $75 for being fully vaccinated, the companies announced on May 14. Workers are required to show their vaccine card in order to receive this bonus.

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You can finally add avocado to your Shake Shack burger

Shake Shack's new avocado and bacon burger and sandwich.
Shake Shack’s new avocado and bacon burger and sandwich.

  • Shake Shack has added two new limited-edition avocado and bacon items: a sandwich and a burger.
  • Both come with avocado slices and applewood-smoked bacon, and are part of Shake Shack’s spring menu.
  • You can also add avocado to any other Shake Shack burger or sandwich on the menu.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Shake Shack has finally added avocado to its menu.

You can have it in one of two new avocado and bacon dishes, or, for the first time, add it to any other burger or sandwich on the menu.

Shake Shack launched its Avocado Bacon Menu Wednesday. You can order either a burger or a sandwich with freshly-sliced avocado and Niman Ranch applewood-smoked bacon.

The burger comes a Shake Shack patty, while the sandwich adds a crispy chicken breast, lettuce, pickles, and buttermilk herb mayo to the avocado-bacon combo.

Shake Shack's new avocado and bacon burger and sandwich.
Shake Shack’s new avocado and bacon burger and sandwich.

Prices depend on where you are, but at the Flatbush restaurant in Brooklyn, New York, the burger costs $7.89 for a single and $10.69 for a double, while the sandwich costs $8.79. Adding avocado slices to other menu items costs $1.25.

The two new dishes are available until June 30 at all US locations, but Shake Shack told Thrillist that the avocado add-on option was here to stay, and that avocado was one of the chain’s most requested additions.

Avocado has boomed in popularity in recent years, causing prices to soar, and it has become an embodiment of millennial culture thanks to memes about avocado toast. The food industry has tried to find creative ways to serve avocado beyond toppings and as guacamole, and some restaurants even base their entire menu on the green fruit.

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