Toronto Star

Shake Shack orders up a fast-food IPO


NEW YORK— Shake Shack is bringing its burgers, milkshakes and crinklecut fries to Wall Street.

The gourmet burger chain filed for an initial public offering Monday, hoping to raise as much as $100 million (U.S.). It didn’t say how many shares it plans to offer, or at what price, so that number may change. It plans to use the cash raised to open more restaurant­s, including its first one in Austin, Texas, and to renovate existing stores.

The origins of the restaurant date back to 2001, when Union Square Hospitalit­y Group, a company owned by restaurate­ur Danny Meyer, opened a hotdog cart in Manhattan’s Madison Square Park. Three years later, a more permanent kiosk opened in the same park. There are now 63 Shake Shack restaurant­s around the world. In 2013, the company had revenue of $84.5 million, up 45 per cent from the year before. It posted a profit of $5.4 million in 2013, up 31 per cent from 2012.

Shake Shack cooks its burgers to order and promotes its use of natural ingredient­s, including hormone- and antibiotic-free beef. It’s known for its long lines and its vibrating pagers that signal when an order is ready. The chain calls its restaurant­s “shacks,” and uses the word to describe its menu items.

Other fast-casual restaurant operators have fared well after their IPOs. Shares of El Pollo Loco Holdings Inc., a chicken chain, have risen about 40 per cent since its July IPO, while shares of Mediterran­ean-style restaurant chain Zoe’s Kitchen Inc. have doubled since their April debut.

Shake Shack Inc. plans to list its stock on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol SHAK.

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