Shake Shack and Just Salad are opening side by side...

Shake Shack and Just Salad are opening side by side in the Oceanside building formerly occupied by Sterling Bank at the Sands shopping center. Credit: Jeff Bachner

Shake Shack’s plan to lean more on drive-thrus and app-based drive-ups in suburban areas will include a new location on Long Island.

The chain known for its burgers and milkshakes will open an Oceanside eatery that will share a building with a Just Salad shop. Both fast-casual restaurants will be opening in The Sands Shopping Center, at 3535 Long Beach Road — the salad eatery in the third quarter of this year and the burger joint in late 2023, representatives for the chains said.

Shake Shack will occupy 3,500 square feet and Just Salad will take 1,500 square feet in a free-standing building that was formerly occupied by Sterling National Bank, said Michael Friedman, president of Manhattan-based Inline Realty Inc., the Long Island City-based real estate firm overseeing leasing for the Oceanside shopping center.

"We’re really trying to bring service and lifestyle to the community and we’re bringing more of a high-end tenant that helps the needs," Friedman said.

The Just Salad location will be its first on Long Island.

Other tenants in the shopping center include supermarket Stop & Shop; clothing stores Old Navy, Gap and Banana Republic Factory; and cosmetics store Sephora.

'Zero drive-thrus'

Shake Shack entered the Long Island market in 2012 with a location at The Gallery at Westbury Plaza in Garden City. The chain now has four locations on the Island.

The Oceanside restaurant "will feature a Shack Track drive-up window, used for expedited pickup for app/web orders" made in advance, instead of taking traditional drive-thru orders that customers in their cars would speak into an intercom outside, said Shake Shack spokeswoman Katie Scott, who said none of the chain's other Long Island restaurants have that feature.

Founded in 2004, Manhattan-based Shake Shack Inc. has more than 240 locations in 32 states and Washington, D.C., and more than 125 international locations, including in London, Hong Kong and Shanghai.

A Shake Shack in Melville.

A Shake Shack in Melville. Credit: Yvonne Albinowski

But it has traditional drive-thrus at only three restaurants, the first two of which opened in December, and eight Shake Tracks with drive-up windows, the first of which opened in April 2021 in Indiana, after the chain experienced a dramatic sales decline during the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021, the chain also added 13 Shack Track interior pickup areas, 12 walk-up windows and six curbside pickup areas.

"At the beginning of 2020, we didn't have any of these models. These were always kind of the plan but [the pandemic] definitely expedited the plan for us," Scott said.

Sales at stores open at least one year fell 27.8% in 2020 compared to 2019, according to a Shake Shack earnings report.

Drive-thrus could have helped boost sales, particularly in suburban markets when restaurants in downtown areas lost foot traffic as office employees were working remotely, said Jim Sanderson, a restaurant analyst at Northcoast Research, an equity research firm in Cleveland.

Sales at Shake Shack restaurants open at least two years in urban areas were down 4% in the fourth quarter of 2021 compared with the same period in 2019, before the pandemic occurred, the company said in its earnings report.

Sales at restaurants open at least two years in suburban areas were up 9%, but some of that was due to increased holiday shopping in shopping malls, Shake Shack said.

By the end of 2022, the company plans to have 10 traditional drive-thrus open nationwide. Also, of the 45 to 50 Shake Shacks that will open in 2022, about 25% will have Shack Track drive-up or walk-up windows, Randy Garutti, Shake Shack’s chief executive officer, said on an earnings call with analysts in November.

Shake Shack has invested more in improving its digital sales capabilities, which accounted for less than 10% of all sales before the pandemic, Sanderson said.

That had increased significantly by the fourth quarter of 2021, when the company's digital sales, including orders placed on the Shake Shack app and website and on third-party delivery platforms, accounted for 42% of Shake Shack's sales, according to its last earnings report.

The classic "Shack Burger" with a single cheeseburger topped with...

The classic "Shack Burger" with a single cheeseburger topped with lettuce, tomato, and shacksauce. Credit: Yvonne Albinowski

Fresh fix

Just Salad has more than 50 restaurants in New York, New Jersey, Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania and North Carolina.

Founded in 2006, the Manhattan-headquartered business sells salads, wraps, warm bowls and other items at its eateries. It focuses on sustainability. With its slogan "Eat with Purpose," the chain has waste reduction initiatives, including a reusable bowl program and bagless pickup and checkout, and a lower-carbon menu category.

"With Just Salad’s signature reusable bowl program, Oceanside residents will be able to join our effort to reduce waste and greenhouse gas emissions by purchasing a bowl for $1 and will receive a free topping with every reuse," Just Salad spokeswoman Nicole Natoli said.

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