Shake Shack opened its latest location in the “Death Star” building at 51 Astor Place today, and we stopped in to try out the kiosk-only ordering system. Word that the beloved burger chain would be going cashless and doing away with human order-takers caused a stir in the fast-food world (granted, not quite a Rick and Morty szechuan sauce stir), but if you were worried about the rise of the machines, don’t be.
True to Danny Meyer’s reputation as Mr. Hospitality, there were many humans (or as he calls them, Hospitality Champs) on hand when Shack Shack opened at 11am today– holding the door for me, greeting me, asking if everything was going okay as I ordered on the touch-screen, telling me where I could wait for a text notification, and asking me (twice) if everything was okay while I ate. Given the Astor Place location, I half expected someone to ask me if I had a moment for Planned Parenthood.
Here’s the good news: The touch-screen ordering system works quite well, on first encounter. My previous experience with this sort of thing has been at Wawa, where you can order one of those sweet, delicious hoagies without suffering the embarrassment of telling a silently judging human being, “Yes, extra mayo and oil and vinegar.” But Shake Shack’s system is even better, since you can complete the transaction at the kiosk by inserting a credit card. Here’s video of the ordering process.
This video cuts off at the point where I had to type my name and phone number; after that, the screen summarizes your order, instructs you to insert a credit card, and then another order summary tells you to wait for a text. This definitely beats the Shack’s previous system, which involves the dread greasy hand buzzer. It only took about five minutes to receive the message below, at which point I gave the counterperson my name and they handed me the takeout bag.
As you can see, there are plenty of options for dining in, as well. Just know that you will be asked how everything is going while Shack Sauce is dribbling down your chin.