Category: Hospitality

Shake It Up!

I live on the Upper West Side (UWS) of NYC, and to the dismay of what we’ll loosely call my exercise routine, there’s a Shake Shack just two blocks south of me.

After a long day, when I don’t feel like cooking and the line isn’t out the door long, I’ll stroll in for my usual: two Hamburgers – singles, with ShackSauce, lettuce and tomato, and possibly a side of fries.

It’s important to note the nuance in my order, Hamburgers vs ShackBurgers, as these come standard with cheese and are $5.19 vs $4.19; I know, get past it, they’re delicious!

Recently, I found myself in this very situation, and decided this was going to be my dinner for the night, of course, washed down by a glass or three of something red and Italian.

The line was manageable, so I ordered dinner and took my seat for my wait to begin. After what seemed like ages, but was probably about ten minutes, my buzzer buzzed! I approached the counter to be greeted by a smiling gentleman who handed me a bag, and as I looked inside, my normal delight turned to dismay when I saw cheese!

As I looked up, without a smile, he instantly knew something was wrong.  I explained the situation, and not knowing I’m a Shake Shack veteran, he asked me if I ordered ShackBurgers or Hamburgers.  It was in this moment that I realized, oh, I’m in a process and this guy is empowered to solve this problem.

I told him I ordered the burgers, and he asked whom I ordered them from. As I nodded to the woman who took my order, he approached her, and instead of looking at the receipt, he asked her what I ordered, to which she replied the Ham, not the ShackBurger.   Pretty awesome that she remembered, I thought.

It turns out that she was new and pressed the wrong key on the POS. All of this happened in a matter of seconds, and before I knew it, they were making my new burgers. As I stood there thoroughly enjoying seeing this process play out exactly as it should have, I realized that since she selected the Shack and not the Hamburger I had overpaid by two dollars. My blue collar roots wanted that two bucks back, but my New York sensibilities told me there was no way I was slowing down that line.

So, I resigned myself to paying an extra two bucks for what surely would be a delicious dinner, when, suddenly, the cashier who had taken my order approached me with a new receipt – my $2 had been refunded.

At that moment I experienced sheer retail utopia. This was exactly as it should have been, and it was beautiful to witness. The unfortunate problem is that this is the exception and not the rule.

Serving customers is a tough business, especially us New Yorkers, but these guys got it right and it’s my guess that for the employees of Shake Shack it’s the rule, not the exception.


SHA_Menu_8.5x11_UWS_Feb-2015 copy