Have you ever wondered what it looks like behind the counter of a Shake Shack? Here, employees share all the secrets about the beloved fast food chain.
Above Minimum Wage
Shake Shack employees get paid above minimum wage. The employees love this aspect of Shake Shack, and it is one of the top reasons they give the restaurant such a high rating. Employees say that the above minimum wage pay is what keeps them going during difficult times while they are at work, such as when they are business or getting frustrated by the volume of people they serve during the day.
Depending on where the fast food joint is located in the country, employees get paid anywhere between $1.50 to $3.75 more than minimum wage. However, there is a downside to employees getting paid this much above minimum wage.
Shake Shack’s prices increased in 2015 and they saw another increase at the beginning of 2016. One New York Times writer called it “Shackflation in Janet Yellen’s America.” The reason for the many hike in prices is because of the wage increases.
There have been protests against the popular $15 an hour minimum wage raise proposal because it can cause the prices to rise yet again, as much as 4.3 percent in price according to a study by Purdue University. This poses a dilemma for customers — pay the extra for the burger or keep minimum wage down? There is not an easy answer to that.
No Free Food
Employees have complained about the 60% discount they get while they work. Sure, 60% seems like a lot, but working in the fast food industry is stressful. You deal with angry customers, putting out food in a timely manner, and not getting to leave when your shift ends because you still have to finish up your responsibilities.
Once you take all that into consideration, 60% does not seem like a big discount, especially if you don’t have time to eat somewhere else during lunch and are sick of looking at Shake Shack food all day. There’s another aspect to this that gets employees more upset.
Waste. Have you ever seen how much waste a fast food restaurant puts out on a regular basis? You would think throwing out tons and tons of food on a regular basis they would be able to give some to their employees, which is one of the things they complained about. Employees said they see all this food waste and all they are given is a 60% off while they are working.
It seems if the Shake Shack can afford to waste this much food, they can afford to feed their employees. Unless that is the reason they cannot afford to pay their employees, then they need to figure out how to minimize waste.
Lack of Employee Breaks
One thing that is rare, according to Shake Shack employees, are breaks. Sure, the law says you are supposed to get a break after four to five hours of working, but employees claim they never get one. The only way they do get breaks is if they bug their managers constantly.
I can see having to remind your manager, but an employee should not have to breathe down their manager’s neck just to get their lawful 15 minute break. The employees say the managers lose their sympathy when they are promoted, which is one reason employees do not get their breaks.
Too Busy for Life
Besides breaks, work life balance seems to be another issue employees have at Shake Shack. Employees have complained their managers constantly held them over their scheduled end time, which cut into their personal time. Obviously we all have other obligations besides work, such as school, family, or just life in general, and being held past the end time on a regular basis can really put a damper on your social life.
Eventually, employees get run down and frustrated, and the overall moral of the business goes down. This could be why employees complain about the managers being mean and compare it to working in a dictatorship.
Lack of Teamwork
Teamwork is essential when it comes to working in the fast food industry, and Shake Shack is no exception. Yet, employees say this is another thing Shake Shack lacks that there is no team effort. They say managers make no effort to work with employees, and employees do not work with each other. The result is a messy environment that employees would rather not work in.
It then becomes a circle, since some employees are not willing to work with others and do not make effort, and the cycle just keeps going. It really sounds like an unpleasant work environment.
Where’s the Empathy
Empathy is one thing that makes us humans, well…human. Employees claim the Shake Shack management lacks empathy towards their employees. This has to do with lack of breaks, not getting out on time, and managers not treating their employees with respect. What kind of work environment does this cause? A chaotic, untrustworthy one. Employees claim that people said whatever they wanted to in the kitchen and would sneak food without paying for it.
Furthermore, managers who lacked empathy would be less likely to give employees time off and not care if they have to hold employees over after the end of their shift.
Training is Inconsistent
Inconsistencies in training from one trainer compared to another is common at Shake Shack, according to employees. They said one manager would teach one way then they would be retrained a different way. Not only is this wasting time, but it is super frustrating for the employees. How do they know which rules to follow or which way to do things? Another thing when it comes to training was employees complaining about managers selectively training some employees more than others.
This sets some up to succeed and others to fail, which really doesn’t seem fair, especially if they are doing the same job.
Even some customers get in on the Shake Shack bashing game. One food blogger, who goes by the name “ramblingsofafoodaddict” wrote about her disappointing experience with one of the company’s London location. First, she complains about the process Shake Shack uses to queue its customers, and the extended wait time.
The reviewer then goes on to say that the burger wasn’t cooked to her liking, and that it tasted like poor quality meat. She finished her post with, “I don’t hate the place, but I just don’t understand the hype. Are these really the best burgers from across the pond? Maybe the grass isn’t greener after all…”
Watch Your Skin
Burnt skin, this is another thing employees share about Shake Shack. They say be prepared to leave the company with burns on your skin. Why? Because of the busy days, rush hours, and lack of training in certain areas. Another thing that increases the scars is the unorganized staff and managers. With all of this running around with half trained employees, it just seems natural people would get burned from time to time, both physically and metaphorically.
So always watch your back when you’re working at Shake Shack, otherwise you just might get burned by something hot or a backstabbing employee.
Lack of Discipline
Discipline is necessary when running a business, and without it your work environment can fall apart quickly. Shake Shack employees say there is no discipline in the workplace and there is often favoritism among employees and managers as well. The lack of discipline breeds childish employees and unnecessary drama, according to employees.
They say that it can feel like high school sometimes because of the lack of discipline and the way employees treat each other. Furthermore, employees say there is no drug testing, which most do not see as a bad thing. I guess it depends on if the drugs make you cause drama or ignore it.
Quick Employee Turnaround
The high turnaround rate at Shake Shack has employees pretty disgruntled as well. Seeing a never-ending revolving door of employees can get pretty disheartening after a while. Since there is a high turnaround rate, other employees who have worked at the restaurant longer are expected to pick up the slack. The worst part is when people are no-shows, which happens pretty regularly according to Shake Shack employees. If someone no-shows, everyone else has to pick up their slack.
Even if you aren’t a Shake Shack employee, make sure you don’t do this to your fellow coworkers because it only hurts them.
Can You be Too Professional?
Some managers go a little far to create a professional work environment to avoid the chaotic ones listed above. Employees have said some managers have forbidden them from speaking about anything that is not work related while they are at Shake Shack. This means they can’t talk about their weekend, current events, or anything else besides burger and fries.
This can get pretty old after about one shift. While the managers are trying to make the employees more productive, they really just make the employees resentful and bored because the workplace is a social environment. Can you imagine not catching up with your coworker even for five minutes?
Lookout for Advancement
A positive thing employees had to say about the place is that it is filled with advancement opportunities. The fast food industry can be a lucrative place to work if you work your way up the ladder. However, the downside to this employees said was the company takes up so much of your time that you hardly have time to do anything else besides working for Shake Shack.
If love working at Shake Shack and believe in their mission, then it could be a good career to stick with because most careers do take up a lot of your time.
Employees have said the work can get monotonous after a while. Yet, the management tried to keep people from getting bored by creating a rotating roster so no employee would do the same job two days in a row. However, this only worked in the short term because employees usually rotated between two stations, such as frying burgers and mixing shakes.
Some employees did say the environment was fast paced enough to keep the days going by fast where others were bored even by the two day rotating station schedule. So it just depends on what type of personality you have.
Management is a common complaint from employees at Shake Shack. They say some management is unprofessional, will curse out employees, and even throw things. Employees also said that those who were in management did not know how to properly work the different stations at Shake Shack.
If you are going to be bossing people around, you should at least know how to do their job and have been in their position before so you can relate to them instead of looking down on them. The management at Shake Shack sounds like a nightmare all across the board as there haven’t been many compliments about them.
Small Work Area
The size of the restaurant is another thing employees say people don’t realize. In the back, employees say the work area they have is small and cramped. This can lead to them running into each other, especially when it gets busy. Having a cramped workplace can gets to the employees after a while and on hot busy days.
Because then you are just running into sweaty humans who probably do not smell the best. Yet, there is really nothing the employees can do about this because Shake Shacks come in certain sizes and are not made for the comfort of employees.
Shake Shack does have a secret menu, kind of. Employees explain how you will have to order each item because not all location’s cashiers will understand what you are asking for because not all Shake Shacks are the same.
Things on the secret menu include adding pickles to your burger, get a Cheese Dog, upgrade to a Cheese Dog with Peppers, cheese fries with chopped peppers, a gluten-free burger, The Quad (four burgers), fries with cheese and steak sauce, grilled cheese with tomato, and an ice cream sandwich (ice cream on a potato bun). Some of these sound seriously amazing, but not the ice cream sandwich.
The private Shake Shack for Goldman Sachs employees is a rumor that has been around for a few years. While some deny the rumor, there are also those who say it is true. People have to wait in line for Shake Shack, but Goldman Sachs is said to have a workaround by having their own grill. Supposedly an employee from Goldman Sachs was complaining their order was taking forever and the manager of Shake Shack said “it’s on the Goldman private grill, I’m sorry there was a big order in front of you, that’s all I can do.”
Someone overheard this conversation and reported it where the rumor spread across the internet. Is it true? Only the insiders at Goldman Sachs know and are not saying anything.