Shake Shack has opened a new UK flagship store in the heart of London after taking over a two-storey site formerly occupied by KFC.
The American hipster fast food chain that claims to have started the “burger revolution” and says that moving into a building where once inhabited by one of the industry’s oldest names completes a “perfect story” for it.
Chief executive Randy Garutti, who flew in from New York this week to launch the new diner, told the Evening Standard that it was an accident that Shake Shack got started at all.
“It was never supposed to be a global company, it was just a hot dog stand to raise money for New York’s Madison Square Park back in 2004,” he said. “People just loved it and it took off. When I was asked by my boss if I wanted to continue working in the high-end side of things or launch Shake Shack and see where it could go, my answer was obvious.
“We somehow gave birth to a global movement with that small burger stand. Now in London you have Patty & Bun, Burger & Lobster and the rest — they were all inspired by us. We made burgers good food again.”
Shake Shack launched its first UK store in London three years ago and has followed that up with three more sites in the capital and one in Cardiff. Next year it is planning launches in Canary Wharf and Victoria.
Mr Garutti told the paper: “It’s a perfect story that we have replaced the KFC because our generation isn’t eating that way anymore — and when we do eat burgers we want a good quality one. We are not a ‘chain’ chain. Our menu and decor changes in each location and country — we work with local chefs and products to find new and exciting dishes.
“We do want hipsters to come here, but why is Leicester Square our flagship? Because this is the heart of the city with people from all over the world visiting. We want to serve everyone high quality, good value food.”
The group has worked with Michelin chefs Sat Bains and April Bloomfield on burgers and with Jamie Oliver’s farmer co-presenter Jimmy Doherty on Cumberland sausage hotdogs.