Shake Shack to open cashless, kiosk-only location in New York City Shake Shack has a lot of questions about consumers and it’s hoping that its newest restaurant will provide some answers.The burger chain, founded by restaurateur Danny Meyer, is opening its first-ever cashless kiosk, in New York this month. The “playground,” as CEO Randy Garutti calls it, is a place for the company to test out a variety of digital innovations and ways of connecting with its consumers.Located in Astor Place, this Shake Shack won’t have a cashier’s counter. Instead, guests will use digital kiosks or their mobile phones to place orders. Manning these kiosks will be “hospitality champs,” Shake Shack employees who specialize in making customers’ time in the restaurant as seamless and enjoyable as possible.Orders will go directly to the kitchen, which has been rearranged to “eliminate friction time,” Garutti told CNBC.Eliminating “friction” is a big piece of this new Shack location. In addition to streamlining the back of house operation, the Astor Place Shake Shack will not accept cash. Garutti said many customers still pay with cash in its restaurants, but the company wants to see if removing that option will make the dining experience more seamless.In addition, instead of the traditional Shake Shack buzzer, diners will receive a text from the restaurant letting them know when their food is ready. This way customers are no longer tethered to the restaurant while their food is being prepared, Garutti said.The new Shack will have a similar dining room and waiting area as traditional Shacks, he said. The company was unable to provide renderings or photographs of the Astor Place location, which is currently under construction.Shake Shack’s digital innovations are not out of character for Meyer. In 2001, he began integrating digital reservation service OpenTable into his restaurants. Garutti, who worked as a restaurant manager for Meyer at the time, said many employees were scared that by adding this technology they would be alienating their guests. But it had the opposite effect.
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