Months after Shake Shack opened a location in New York City that didn’t accept cash, the burger chain has decided not to continue with a plan to have fully cashless restaurants. The change comes following customer feedback, Business Insider reported.
“Some of the things we’ve clearly seen is that our guests do often want to pay with cash,” CEO Randy Garutti said on the company’s earnings conference call on Thursday (May 3). “In the first rollout at Astor Place, we did not accept cash at all, and there are people who have told us very clearly ‘we want to pay with cash.’”
As a result, the company is planning to add cashiers to cashless stores. But the company hasn’t completely given up on kiosks: Garutti plans to have about “about four or five” Shake Shacks with kiosks prior to the close of the second quarter.
The news comes months after Shake Shack had customers order through digital kiosks or their smartphones at an Astor Place location. The cashless kiosks were to be manned by “hospitality champs” — employees whose focus was making sure customers’ time in the restaurant was as pleasant and problem-free as possible. Orders were to go directly to the kitchen, which also had a reset to “eliminate friction time,” Garutti told CNBC at the time.
The CEO noted that eliminating friction was the animating concept behind the move. Customers, he noted, still use cash to pay quite often at Shake Shack locations, but the company wanted to see what happened when the option was taken away. The hope was that the experience would be improved for all diners.
In addition, instead of the traditional Shake Shack buzzer, customers get a text message when their food is done, so they can leave the restaurant while they wait and still be sure to get their meal hot and fresh when it’s available.