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Buns, beef, stars and stripes

By Alywin Chew in Shanghai | China Daily | Updated: 2019-02-18 09:57
[Photo provided to China Daily]

Shanghai has just been given a dollop of New York in the form of a hamburger outfit that joins battle with others for a helping of the fast-food market

When an American fast-casual burger joint officially opened an outlet in Shanghai recently a lion dance was held in front of its store in the Xintiandi tourist hotspot. It was only 11 am when the performance ended, but by then a crowd of more than 100 had already formed a queue that snaked around the area's little alleys.

The restaurant, located in a refurbished shikumen (house with a courtyard and gates encased in stone frames), is the first outpost in China of the New York burger joint Shake Shack. Randy Garutti, the company's chief executive, says it plans to open 25 outlets in Shanghai over the next 10 years. "We always choose to go to the great cities of the world," Garutti says.

"Shanghai is such a cultural and food capital and I understand that many things start here before going to the rest of China."

Shake Shack may expand to other cities in southern China and Beijing in the future, he says.

Shake Shack's move into China is in line with its meteoric rise in recent years. It was founded as a hot dog cart in New York in 2001, part of a Public Art Fund project to drive awareness for renewal efforts of Madison Square Park. The brand has since become one of the most prominent burger chains in the United States and has more than 200 outlets worldwide.

The company reported revenue of $119.6 million in the third quarter of 2018.

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