Why Shake Shack gave up on going cashless

calendar iconMay 10, 2018

American fast food burger chain, Shake Shack recently decided against going cashless after New Yorkers demanded to be allowed to pay with legal tender following recent tests with cashless outlets.

The popular New York-based burger joint opened in 2004 and after just over a decade of success and opening over 150 locations, the company took a gamble with cashless kiosks and lost. While the card and smart payment technology received some positive reviews, customers did not see that as a reason to eliminate cash.

"...In the first rollout at Astor Place, we did not accept cash at all, and there are people who have told us very clearly 'we want to pay with cash.'"
"CEO Randy GaruttiShake Shackas quoted by Markets Insider analyst

Excerpt from Markets Insider

After receiving complaints from furious customers who wanted to pay with their hard-earned legal tender, the burger chain is reversing course and adding cashiers to cashless locations going forward, its chief executive officer told analysts on a conference call Thursday. ""Some of the things we've clearly seen is that our guests do often want to pay with cash..."

"So in this next phase, we're going to go ahead and have cashiers as well as kiosks,"
"CEO Randy GaruttiShake Shackas quoted by Markets Insider analyst

Read full Markets Insider article here

On the up side, the restaurant chain learned a valuable lesson. Rather than trying to force people to pay your way, it is in everyone's best interest to protect the public's right to choose.

"It's your call," said the CEO. "And we want to make sure that we're doing that in so many different ways."

Excerpt from Motley Fool

Listen to your customers
If a company wants to serve the largest possible cross-section of the market, it has to make as many customers comfortable as it can. At some point, of course, folding money may become as outdated as barter for such transactions. But for chain eateries, it appears it will be better to lag back and let the customers show them when that time has come, rather than forcing the issue.

Read full Motley Fool article here


Rapier, Graham. 'Shake Shack is abandoning its plan to go cashless after customer backlash (SHAK).' Markets Insider. Electronically published May 04, 2018. Accessed May 10, 2018.

Daniel B. Kline. ‘Shake Shack Scraps Cashless Store Experiment.' Motley Fool. Electronically published May 08, 2018. Accessed May 10, 2018.

Have you ever walked out of a shop because they didn't accept cash?

Last Updated: Apr 30, 2019