The Inspiration For Shake Shack Might Surprise You

Danny Meyer opened the first permanent Shake Shack kiosk in New York City's Madison Square Park, in 2004. The fast casual restaurant was soon delighting customers with their gourmet burgers, crinkle-cut fries, and creamy frozen custards. Now, there are over 275 locations worldwide, according to Investopedia. However, Meyer admits he didn't come up with the idea for the successful restaurant all on his own. 

In fact, he first got the inspiration for the burger-and-shake themed restaurant from all the time he spent visiting Steak 'n Shake restaurants in St. Louis, Mo., in his youth (via New York Times). "Spent a lot of my weekend nights as a teenager at Steak 'n Shake (curbside service was awesome – especially after getting driver's license at 16) and those parking lot experiences hanging out with friends were inspirational in desire to create a burger joint that would bring people together," he explained to the publication. "I also loved how they smashed little discs of beef into delicious griddled burgers." 

Danny Meyer credits growing up in St. Louis as a big source of inspiration for Shake Shack

Meyer has said that the restaurants of his childhood have had a big influence on his career (via New York Times). From the very beginning, he wanted Shake Shack to have the same kind of friendly, St. Louis-style hospitality that he remembered from his hometown. "My job is to give and get pleasure from delivering this great food to you," he told Inc. "That shouldn't apply only to the rarefied experience of fine dining and the small population that can afford that." Clearly, this kind of atmosphere has connected with its fans. 

Meyer also told CNBC that this type of hospitality is what he believes has made the restaurant so successful. "No matter what the industry, the way you make people feel is the most telling factor in who's going to want to work for you," he explained. "And who wants to work for you is the most telling factor in how good is your business."