On Tuesday morning, Danny Meyer's beloved fast food chain Shake Shack announced that it was expanding yet again, this time by opening a second location in Brooklyn, across the street from the Barclays Center near the increasingly bustling Atlantic Terminal. Here's an excerpt from the press release:
No sleep ‘til Brooklyn! Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group (USHG) is proud to announce it will open its second Brooklyn Shake Shack in Fall 2013. The new Shack will make its home at 170 Flatbush Avenue, just a three-pointer and slap shot away from Barclays Center—NYC’s exciting new entertainment destination and home of the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets and NHL’s New York Islanders (2015).
170 Flatbush is almost exactly a mile away from the first Shake Shack Brooklyn location at 409 Fulton Street. This is the second expansion announcement of 2013; the first, in January, revealed a new outpost of the chain near Drexel University in Philadelphia. When the Atlantic Terminal Shake Shack opens, it should be the chain's 21st location -- the 19th being a branch in London, England.
There's no telling how many more Meyer could open at this point. 100? 200? More? Its far-higher-than-normal average ticket prices make it an immensely profitable brand -- so much so that it has its own operations team within Meyer's broader Union Square Hospitality Group.
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Smashburger is on fire. It is expanding at a high clip, opening <a href="http://smashburger.com/2012/12/smashburger-opens-first-latin-america-restaurant-costa-rica/">international ventures</a>, and is even preparing to <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/23/smashburger-expansion_n_1690562.html">take on In-N-Out</a>. The chain currently has locations in 27 states, so if it hasn't invaded your state yet, it might only be a matter of time. The patty is smashed, seared and seasoned to order, so it may take you slightly longer to get your order than at a fast food restaurant, but we'd argue that those few extra minutes are well worth the wait.
Fatburger is one chain that sees <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/18/fatburger-international-expansion_n_1893891.html">dollar signs abroad</a>. By the end of 2012, nearly half all Fatburger's 150 locations will be international units -- in Canada, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Iraq, Korea, Indonesia, China and Macau. There are another 225 in development.
Umami Burger isn't expanding nearly as fast as Smashburger or Fatburger -- it only has about 15 locations, most of which are in Southern California. Regardless it is definitely a chain to watch. Umami Burger has achieved serious cult status in California and is making the big jump to the <a href="http://newyork.grubstreet.com/2012/10/new-york-umami-burger-opens-this-march.html">East Coast this March</a>. If it can convert East Coast burger lovers as well, it may be unstoppable.
Not too long ago (2004 to be exact), Shake Shack was just a lonely hamburger stand in New York's Madison Square Park. Then it expanded to other locations in New York. Then it went to DC, Philadelphia, Miami, Connecticut. Then, Shake Shack traveled even farther, and expanded to Dubai, Kuwait City, Doha and Abu Dhabi. Still reaching, the chain has plans for Boston and <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/20/shake-shack-london_n_2165079.html">London</a> this year. Will this chain ever be stopped?
Giraffas is a Brazilian restaurant chain that has opened a few branches in Miami, with <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/burgerbusiness/america-brazilian-burger-chain_b_2479495.html">more locations to Florida</a>. If all goes according to plan, D.C. might be next on the list. Giraffas makes its burgers by using a Brazilian cut of beef called picanha -- the cap of beef rump steak. In Brazil, Giraffas is a fast food chain, but when Giraffas opened in the U.S., it opted for a fast casual model in order to distinguish itself.