“I bet no CEO of a company has said this to his team,” Shake Shack leader Randy Garutti tells a roomful of employees. “I want to challenge you to put us out of business.”
It’s less than 30 minutes before the 11 a.m. grand opening of what will be the 66th Shake Shack—a gleaming, multimillion-dollar outpost located in a Victorian brownstone on Newbury Street, in Boston’s gold coast shopping district. The assembled workers sit riveted, but this last-minute dare is probably not what they were expecting.
Garutti, the company’s CEO, has been up since 3 a.m. He came to Boston on a late-arriving early-morning Amtrak train, and he plans to hit three other Boston-area Shacks before heading home to New York. It has already been a long day. Is he having some kind of stress-induced, Howard Beale–style meltdown? Well, no. He’s just passing along a bit of the wisdom that has made his company one of the hottest restaurant businesses in the country.