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Shake Shack Puts Expansion Into the Bay Area on Hold

Also: Dominique Crenn launches to-go boxes, and more news to start your day

The same issues that are harming all businesses are cutting deep at Shake Shack
Shake Shack

Cult-fave burger chain Shake Shack has announced ambitious plans to expand into the Bay Area, but coronavirus-related business losses might halt that expansion in its tracks.

Get ready to feel a little stunned: It was just two months ago today that Shake Shack opened its first location in San Francisco, promising local collabs on concretes (what they call their frozen custard with mix-in desserts), like one with B. Patisserie made with their beloved Kouign Amann.

Cut to a shot of Shake Shack’s (legally required to be empty) Cow Hollow dining room, with a title card that reads “two months later,” as a tumbleweed (or abandoned e-scooter) rolls past. Shack collaborator B. Patisserie is temporarily closed, and the only way to get their Kouign Amann is during limited pickup hours on Fridays-Sundays at their sister spot, B. on the Go. Shake Shack’s SF spot is now delivery and takeout only, and the company has closed several other restaurants, as, according to Restaurant Business Online, Shake Shack’s sales have dropped 50-90 percent nationwide, prompting salary reductions and layoffs at the corporate level, “as well as a hiring freeze and staffing reductions.”

The “dire” financial situation also means that “design and construction of new units has been halted, and there are no plans to open additional stores this year,” which means that its Westfield San Francisco Centre location — which a spokesperson said was expected to open in 2020 — has been put on pause. As the crisis continues, Shake Shack warns that hours at the still-operating locations might be cut back, and additional spots where “sales are not at levels sufficient to stay open during this time” will also be shuttered.

And in other news...

  • The FDA is reminding everyone that they can’t get COVID-19 from food, so “even if a person working in a food facility tested positive for COVID-19, the FDA does not anticipate there would be a need for a massive recall.” [KRON 4]
  • SF-based Instacart has announced that its shoppers may now request kits that include hand sanitizer, a face mask, and a thermometer. [TechCrunch]
  • Michelin-starred chef Dominique Crenn is now offering at-home kits for $38-$55, quite the deal given that a sit-down experience at her spots can run three figures. [ABC 7]
  • Breakfast and sandwich spot Bacon Bacon has been busy as heck during the crisis, as their loyal patrons are now ponying up for orders that’ll be sent to healthcare workers. [Salon]
  • Union City catering company Raja Sweets and Indian Cuisine is passing out free food from noon to 8 p.m. every day. [KRON 4]
  • The SF Giants are distributing one-time, $500 checks to event workers like its 900-person Bon Appetit catering staff. [NBC Bay Area]
  • Burlingame’s Bonne Sante Deli is now a toilet paper purveyor, offering $1 rolls along with its popular line of unpretentious sandwiches. [ABC 7]
  • The new owner of Levi’s Plaza (the 1155 Battery Street office complex changed hands for $825 million last year) says that plans are in the works to convert it to a mixed-use “campus” with “new food, retail and services.” [SF Business Times]
  • Aplat, a San Francisco company that’s typically been centered on artisanal carrying bags for food and wine, has pivoted to making masks for food service workers. [KRON 4]
  • The West side of SF’s small local papers talked to restauranteurs in the Sunset and Richmond about how they’re dealing with the crisis. [Richmond Review] [Sunset Beacon]

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