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Steak ‘n Shake opened its first New York City restaurant on January 12, and the chain used the opportunity to debut its new Steak ‘n Shake Signature counter-service prototype. The new design is a leaner outfit that does away with the all-night schedule, some menu items, and table service. Customers will instead find a small, 22-seat, counter-service-only Steak ‘n Shake that offers a new organic beef hamburger, a high-tech drink machine, hand-cut fries, and beer and wine.
Just north of Times Square on Broadway, next door to the famed Ed Sullivan Theater, the new unit is bright and sleek, with the company’s signature red as the dominant color. Bold graphic elements and dramatic lighting, including a yellow strip light that runs across the ceiling and down one wall, complement the décor.
New Yorkers won’t be able to enjoy some of the Steak ‘n Shake menu items that are available for customers in other markets. Missing from the store’s menu are breakfast, salads, and sandwiches. Instead, the minimal menu focuses on the company’s core products: steakburgers and milkshakes. The leaner menu was designed with simple and speedy in mind and also to meet Americans’ increasing demand for organic options. The new Signature Steakburger is made from 6 ounces of 100 percent USDA-certified organic beef.
The timing on the new market and new prototype may especially be strong for Steak ‘n Shake, Tristano says, because the economy is rebounding and customers are increasingly interested in higher quality fast food. “Considering their history, positioning, and price point, they’ve got as good a chance as any to succeed in the New York market,” he says.