Shake Shack, the American burger brand, is to open its fifth site in the UK, in London Victoria's new Nova development.
The 96-seat, 2,895 sq ft site is part of a slow-but-sure expansion of the group across the country, and will serve the usual menu of high-quality burgers, hot dogs, shakes, frozen custard "concrete" ice-creams, plus beer, wine and a variety of American-inspired soft drinks such as root beer.
Food and drink will come from the same UK suppliers as those used in other Shake Shacks, including chocolate from the St. John Bakery, British Aberdeen Angus beef, bacon from Wiltshire, and the ShackMeister Ale, which is UK-brewed especially for the company.
The group plans to grow, but steadily, with chief executive Randy Garruti being careful to state to The Caterer that new sites are considered in high-footfall places in which the community is likely to gather, and aim to offer a relaxed environment rather than competing with other typical fast food, high-traffic locations, offering a step up from traditional fast food, but a step below higher-end dining.
He also emphasised that Shake Shack was aimed at people who may not eat burgers too often, but when they do have one, they want to be assured of its quality. He would not be drawn on how much the new site would cost, but admitted it was "a lot", mainly because of the materials used in the design, such as reclaimed bowling alley wood.
Commenting on the new opening, he said: "We've wanted to do this Nova spot for a couple of years, and we're just so excited. It's everything that we want Shake Shack to be; a cool, community-gathering place. This is obviously one of the busiest tube stops in London - it's just this coming together central hub, and we have a lot of respect for our landlord [Land Securities] there. As soon as the opportunity came to us, we said, we've got to be a part of it."
He added that the group didn't have a specific number of sites planned for the UK, saying: "We've never set that kind of goal - the dream is, when we open, people love it. If we keep doing that, we'll keep building them, over a long period of time."
Shake Shack was founded in 2004, and operates 42 sites across the US, including 11 in Manhattan, with international locations in the Middle East, Turkey, Russia, and Japan. In the UK it has recently collaborated on burger projects with celebrity chefs including Sat Bains and Massimo Bottura.
Nova Victoria, set to open this autumn, is a new mixed-use, residential and office building with a new food quarter. Brands expected to open will also include ramen bar Bone Daddies, Jamie Oliver's Barbecoa, sourdough pizza brand Franco Manca, a 10,000 sq ft site from D&D London, a new Jason Atherton opening, and a branch of deli-café Sourced Market.
Shake Shack steps up expansion with more new sites >>