That was the title of an article in the July/August issue of FAST COMPANY that caught my attention. The byline said: How Shake Shack has customers (and many investors) salivating for its burgers and unique brand of hospitality.
Rob Brunner, who wrote the article said, “I bet no CEO of a company has said this to his team: ‘I want to challenge you to put us out of business.’” But that’s exactly what Shake Shack CEO, Randy Garutti says to his employees. What does he mean? Garutti explains, “Put us out of business because you are so generous with what you give the people who walk in this door. If there’s a kid crying, who’s going to walk over with a free cup of custard? I challenge you to put us out of business with how generous you are. Go do it. Give away free stuff.”1
Brunner adds, “This is not merely about the occasional gratis dessert: It’s part of a larger effort to empower employees to do whatever it takes to make customers feel loved.”2
“Shake Shack has been inspiring excitement since it opened in New York’s Madison Square Park 11 years ago. Created by revered New York restaurateur Danny Meyer, it has since grown from a humble burger stand into a global chain with 41 U.S. outlets and 27 overseas franchises in cities such as Moscow, Dubai, Istanbul, and London. Fans line up for its signature ShackBurgers (flavor-packed beef patties served on squishy Martin’s potato rolls and wrapped in nostalgia-triggering wax paper).”3
I’ve never had a Shake Shack burger. But their passion for excellence and treating their guests with generosity and class resonates with me. My personal bias is churches should do it far better than those who sell cheeseburgers. If people can bend over backwards and go all out to make an experience with a temporary product a memorable one, how much more should we who have something (SOMEONE) way better than burgers, do everything humanly possible to provide an experience people will remember the rest of their lives? And we should do it in such a way they remember WHO we serve, not what we served or how we did it.
It’s not just the way we serve or the church services we have. The Bible says we should live that way all the time. No matter what we do or where we are. Peter said, “Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us” (1 Peter 2:12/NIV 1984).
© 2015. Barry L. Cameron
1 Rob Brunner, “America Shacks Up,” Fast Company Jul./Aug. 2015: 77-79.
Barry L. Cameron has been the Senior Pastor of Crossroads since 1992 when the church was averaging 188 in morning worship. Pastor Cameron and his wife, Janis, have three children and two grandsons. He’s the author of the bestseller: The ABCs of Financial Freedom, Contagious Generosity, and The Financial Freedom Workbook. The Cameron family has been completely debt free since November 2001.