Steak n’ Shake Ditches Servers for Self-Service

steak n' shake
courtesy steak n'shake Facebook

Steak n’ Shake is making a big change to how they serve their customers. The restaurant is transitioning to self-service (via kiosks) and will no longer offer table service.

In a letter to shareholders, Biglari Holdings, the parent company for Steak n’ Shake and Western Sizzlin, Steak n’ Shake explains the decision:

“The combination of labor-intensive, slow production and high-cost table service was a faulty business model. Simply put, the operation of dining rooms with table service was a money loser,” it states in the letter.

Instead of ordering at a table, guests will initiate their own transaction at a kiosk.

While the plan is just now being announced, Biglari Holdings goes on to explain this change was in the works prior to the pandemic. “It should be noted that while we had a plan to convert to a self-service model prior to the pandemic, it was one that would have taken several years to implement. We, therefore, made the decision to emerge from the public health crisis with a different service model for the entire system. In effect, the pandemic hastened the inevitable,” they state.

Steak n’ Shake, born in 1934 on Route 66, is the originator of the Steakburger and a legendary milkshake, which together have been the company’s most notable menu items for 87 years. There are a total of 556 locations across the country which includes company stores and franchise stores.

By the end of 2020, they had converted 87 company stores to franchise owners. In a newly announced franchise program, the upfront cost is $10,000. Biglari Holdings is responsible for the construction of the building, and the equipment needed for operation. They will assess a fee of up to 15 percent of sales as well as 50 percent of profits. Last year, they received 35,000 applicants to become a franchise owner.



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