Shake Shack Ups Its Chicken Game, Disses Competitor


Shake Shack is no stranger to pop culture tie-ins, with its Valentine’s Day and Oscars’ experiential events, but its latest giveaway connects with customers by giving them what they can’t get from the chain's chicken-themed competitor: a free serving of the bird on Sunday.

Shake Shack has declared game-on with Chick-fil-A by offering its own Chicken Shack Sandwiches for free on Sundays the entire month of April. As Chick-fil-A is famously closed on Sundays, the promo takes a not so subtle swipe at one of the most popular chicken chains in the U.S.

Shake Shack stated in a release that it's “one-upping a famously 'closed on Sundays' chicken sandwich fast-food chain, which shall remain unnamed.” It continues the jabs; “Shake Shack’s Chicken Shack is made with crispy, white-meat chicken breast -- always fresh, never frozen, and antibiotic-free (a pledge Shake Shack plans to keep, unlike other chains) -- over lettuce, pickles and buttermilk herb mayo on a potato bun.”

QSR Insider interviewed Shake Shack CMO Jay Livingston regarding the snarky effort, which is the first promo for the chain since it announced that a new CEO, Rob Lynch, would be coming onboaard in May.

QSR Insider: Why did Shake Shack decide to do this promotion?

Livingston: We’re always looking for opportunities to tout our high-quality chicken, and with some companies rolling back their commitment to using only antibiotic-free sourcing, we’re reminding consumers about what we stand for. We added an offer on Sundays because we want potential guests that may not think of us for chicken sandwiches to try us and compare. We like where we’ll land in these comparisons.

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

Livingston: The core of Shake Shack has always been premium ingredients. We want to capitalize on recent industry news and reward our guests for trying our sandwich versus the competition. We want to be top of mind for chicken.

QSR Insider: Shake Shack has really jumped into experiential in the last year (Oscars, Valentine's Day dine-in events) Should we expect to see more of these activations in the future? Any you can discuss now?

Livingston: We’ve really enjoyed jumping into cultural moments in a uniquely Shake Shack way. Hospitality and meeting our guests where they are is a big part of the larger Shake Shack brand, so you can definitely expect more from us this year, especially in the coming summer months. We always want to be in the fabric of the cultural conversation.

QSR Insider: Per the recent announcement of Rob Lynch as CEO, how do you expect his arrival to affect marketing and advertising?

Livingston: We’re excited to have Rob join the Shack fam as well as bring his past expertise in marketing to our team. It’s too soon to share more details here, but we look forward to continuing tapping into cultural moments in unexpected ways…. I know he’s excited to dig in and collaborate on our marketing strategies and refine our vision and objectives for the future.

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