Shake Shack’s NYC Headquarters Is a Triple-Decker Dripping With Stylish Design

Shake Shack’s NYC Headquarters Is a Triple-Decker Dripping With Stylish Design

By Lauren Jones / Photos by Chase Daniel
Custom wooden furniture, upscale communal areas, and tucked-away conference spaces form the foundation for the fast food empire’s 12,000-square-foot domain.

Shake Shack's runaway success shows that fast food doesn’t have to mean poor quality—and the same rules apply at the franchise’s New York City headquarters. CEO Randy Garutti sought to create a quality-driven employee experience that nods to the original Madison Square Garden location and serves the transparency that the company continues to strive for.

In order to dream up the larger-than-life three-story office, Garutti turned to Austin–based Michael Hsu Office of Architecture—the firm that designed Shake Shack’s first California storefront. 

Hsu and his team were involved in the renovation process from top-to-bottom—from curating all of the furnishings and artwork to designing custom wooden pieces.

For the Shake Shack headquarters, plenty of greenery was a must. They wanted it to feel like a peaceful, wellness-focused space rather than a typical fast-paced hospitality company. 

"Every time we start a project, we want to make sure that it’s the right cultural fit with the client," says principal Michael Hsu. Hsu approached the project much like a city block, "carving out moments for relief for employees to step away from their desks, [spaces] that fit varying personality types and how people work throughout the day."

It was also important for the headquarters to exemplify just how much Shake Shack cares about its employees and values the all-for-one and one-for-all attitude. "The CEO’s office is right off the kitchen looking into the all-hands deck," Hsu says. "It’s very open and collaborative, and we tried not to compartmentalize spaces." 

Hsu developed a natural material palette for the project that's composed of steel, wood, plants, and ceramics. "We didn't want too much visual noise," he says. 

Shake Shack wanted to make sure its employees had plenty of space to recharge throughout the day, so the company tasked Hsu and his team with creating relaxing common areas. 

With that community focus in mind, Hsu and his team placed a lot of their efforts into the team kitchen, which he calls "the public square of the office." The space is outfitted with walnut countertops, black cabinetry, tile, and modern light fixtures inspired by the twinkling lights at Shake Shack’s first location.

This mini conference space is perfect for meetings in a more relaxed atmosphere. 

 "It was important for the kitchen to feel open, but also work as an event space," he says. "Community engagement is really important to them, so we wanted it to feel cozy and flexible for smaller groups, guest speakers, larger events, or teaching moments."

The team also wanted it to have an almost residential feel—like "that of a lobby in a historic building" where people could gather and enjoy the view of the nearby Empire State Building.

Located just blocks from the Empire State Building, Shake Shack's historic new headquarters offers inspiration from every angle.

For the conference areas, Hsu and his team interviewed the staff to see how much quiet they needed and how many high-energy active collaboration areas they wanted. "Everyone works differently, and we didn’t want to make it a cookie-cutter situation," he says.

The rest of the third floor contains individual workstations, luxe olive-green couches ideal for enjoying a coffee break or looking off into the New York skyline, a comfort area for new moms, private phone booths, and the library—the most peaceful spot in the building.

The wood-slatted library is soundproofed for ultimate comfort. 

 "The library is at the very back of the space, and we wanted it to seem like it was someone’s living room," Hsu says. "Shake Shack has always wanted their food to feel like a personal experience, and thus that sense of hospitality and culture should permeate."

An on-site storefront and innovation kitchen help move the brand forward and keep all of the employees engaged with customers.

A mural tells the story of Shake Shack in chronological order in a playful way.  

In addition to the enviable open-concept office, the headquarters also features a first-floor storefront and an innovation kitchen with hand-painted wallpaper by a local muralist. 

All in all, Shake Shack's headquarters reflects the company’s mission and values—which include respect, empathy, and an eye for delivering the best possible experience. 

Related Reading: Taco Bell’s Hotel in Palm Springs Sells Out in Two Minutes, Man Repeller’s Manhattan Offices Are Just as Chic as You’d Expect


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