Shake Shack, Milk Bar Spin Up New Partnership

Shake Shack, known for limited-time partnerships that tantalize its fans, is offering two new Milk Bar x Shake Shack shakes. The announcement comes as the chain looks for ways to boost traffic in its restaurants, which are lagging behind many of its competitors.

The Chocolate Birthday Cake Shake, which features Milk Bar B’Day crumbs and Milk Bar B’Day frosting, is handspun with chocolate cake frozen custard. And the Cornflake Chocolate Drizzle Shake, made with Milk Bar Cornflake Crunch, uses malted vanilla frozen custard and chocolate fudge drizzle.

The concoctions will no doubt delight all those Milk Bar fans who prefer their sweets sprinkled with rainbow jimmies, mini marshmallows and childhood nostalgia. Scheduled to be available through Nov. 1, they're also offered as part of a birthday giveaway, with lucky fans selected by the B’day randomizer.

The company’s innovative “Now Serving” program, launched in February, which feature local chefs in collaborations supporting those in the restaurant industry, have also been a buzz-building hit. These include items like the Shake Shack X Pinky Cole menu, with meatless burgers based on the popularity of Cole's Slutty Vegan offerings. Shake Shack has also been running a food truck in the Los Angeles area, with high-profile stops at The Comedy Store and Madcap Motel.

In financial results released earlier this month, the New York-based chain beat Wall Street forecasts, with total revenue jumping 104.2% to $187.5 million, with“same-shack” sales rising 52.7%. And its digital sales continue to grow in the double digits.

But the company continues to lag some of its competitors in the race back to normal, with more of its stores in urban areas. That, along with its increased expenses, has kept some investors on the sidelines.

“While reassured by signs of progress, we highlight that Shake Shack’s two-year comparable trends remain well below those of fast-casual peers, including in suburban markets,” writes David Tarantino, an analyst who follows the company for Baird. “In our opinion, the ongoing lagging sales performance in suburban areas, along with possible permanent changes in consumer traffic patterns, could prevent a full recovery in urban areas.”

He’s encouraged by the company’s development prospects, including its anticipated 55-plus unit openings this year, with an additional 65 or so next year. It now has 339 units, including 116 licensed international stores.

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