1. Have an enemy. In Meyer’s case, the enemy is fast food that strips away the human experience.
“The whole experience is to cram people into a cookie-cutter space, to feed them as many unhealthy calories as possible — then get them to leave,” said Mr. Meyer, the president of the Union Square Hospitality Group and the Yoda of Shake Shack. “That stripping away of human experience? That is where fast food went astray.”
Contrast and compare, then, with the three Shake Shacks in New York City, where patrons are cheerfully welcomed at the counter of a neighborhood-centered, urban-fantasy version of a burger roadhouse. On the menu? Whole-muscle, no-trimmings, fresh-ground, antibiotic-and-hormone-free, source-verified-to-ranch-of-birth, choice-or-higher-grade Black Angus beef.
Furthermore, “people have to wait in line just to place their orders,” Mr. Meyer, 51, said on a recent afternoon. “After that? They have to wait for us to cook their orders. And then? We hope they’ll stay awhile, as they eat. To enhance the communal experience.”