Commentary

Love Shack Turns Shake Shacks Into V-Day Destination

QSRs and fast-casual chains ae embracing the spirit of Valentine’s Day, without all the pomp and circumstance (and price) of pre-pandemic romantic celebrations.

White Castle has its Love Castles, which transforms White Castle dining rooms into “fine dining” establishments, where customers receive hostess seating, tableside service and festive V-Day décor.

Enter fast-casual Shake Shack with its  Love Shack, described by the chain as a “VIP experience to enjoy its new, limited time swicy and umami menu items in an upscale restaurant setting.” On Feb. 14, several Shake Shacks across the country will transform into reservation-required prix fixe restaurants, complete with table service, candles and floral arrangements.

Customers can choose from two different prix fixe menus depending on location. The first is a Swicy Date Night menu for $80 per couple, featuring two Korean Style Fried Chicken sandwiches; spicy kimchi seasoned Korean BBQ Fries with Korean BBQ Sauce and Cheese Sauce on the side; and ending with a Gochujang Caramel Sauce Sundae to share. Guests can also choose the drink of their choice, including Shack canned wine and Shackmeister Ale.

The second option for group celebrations of four for $160 is the Umami Dinner Party, serving four Korean BBQ Burgers consisting of Angus beef cheeseburgers topped with sweet onions, scallions and a Korean BBQ sauce on a toasted potato bun; kimchi-seasoned Spicy Korean BBQ Fries on the side; and finished off with individual Gochujang Caramel Sauce Sundaes and a choice of beverage.

Reservations are available at participating Shake Shacks across the country, including New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Miami, Atlanta and Chicago.

QSR Insider asked Shake Shack’s Vice President of Brand Marketing Mike McGarry about the lovestruck activation.

QSR Insider: What need is Love Shack filling?

McGarry: Our guests have consistently told us that they love when we create unique culinary experiences for them to take part in. We saw the combination of Valentine’s Day and our limited-time Korean Style menu as a unique canvas to showcase our high-quality ingredients, innovation, culinary chops and top-notch hospitality. 

QSR Insider: Why the focus on the new Korean-inspired menu items for Love Shack?

McGarry: Our Korean-style menu returned due to the overwhelming demand from our guests in 2021. The “swicy” and umami items are only on the menu for a limited time, so we want to give it as much love and attention as we can. We love playing up the Team Swicy and Team Umami messaging we’re using across marketing and highlighting the different flavor profiles, ingredients and textures of the menu in two unique dining experiences.

QSR Insider: Who do you think the Love Shack will attract? New customers? Shake Shack fans?

McGarry: I think it will be a combination of both. We’ve seen that these unique culinary experiences serve as an awesome way to get new guests to feel the Shake Shack difference, while also deepening our relationship with our diehard fans. 

QSR Insider: How does the Love Shack fit into Shake Shack’s overall marketing strategy?

McGarry: We are an experience brand, whether it is an activation like Love Shack or getting lunch on a Thursday at a Shake Shack. We focus really hard on creating experiences that are undeniably Shake Shack and that our guests love. That’s our differentiator.

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