Please re-write the following summary in a different way:
Shake Shack and McDonald’s have some significant parallels in the business word. Not only are they both burger restaurants, they also have some overlap in their targeted consumer bases. In addition, they both seem to have an eye on presenting a cleaner, healthier image.
Beyond these similarities though, these two restaurants seem to be on different planes. Perhaps 20 years ago I would have said McDonald’s was operating in the relationship era. I don’t know that they were particularly interested in building a meaningful relationship with their consumers, but they certainly could depend on some sort of relationship with them. Everyone knows the Golden Arches. Everyone knows they’re going to get the same sandwich no matter which location they step into. This tacit and passive reliance on an existing relationship with its customers, in my opinion, made them fall behind on public desires. If you think about it, McDonald’s has gone through quite a face lift in recent decades and they now promote themselves as a restaurant that offers everything from happy meals to healthy salads. They take steps to explore responsible sourcing and have set goals to reduce waste and carbon output. This new attempt to engage with customers’ desires and make choices based on that moves them back to the Marketing era in my opinion.
Compare McDonald’s about face to Shake Shack. When Shake Shack started in 2000 it was specifically meant to revitalize a rundown area of New York. The company ethos has been to give back and enrich whatever community it is a part of from that day on. In the words of CEO Randall Garutti, “The bigger we get, the smaller we need to act”. This dedication is seen all the way from the buildings themselves, designed to fit into whatever neighborhood they join, the food, which is locally sourced and sustainable and the team, which is friendly and familial. In my opinion, Shake Shack is also in the Marketing era, but they started there as opposed to stepping back into it.
Both of these restaurants are targeting consumers who are concerned with eating responsibly and at least in a semi-healthy way. Hence the responsibly sourced ingredients and recyclable items. Shake Shack is at an advantage in this since they already have a reputation for being a responsible, higher quality restaurant. McDonald’s is fighting against generations of perceptions that they are wasteful, trash food. Because of this, they will have to market more aggressively about the changes they are making if they wish to reach the new, more discerning consumers.
Both of these businesses face the challenge of balancing societal ethical conduct against their responsibilities to stockholders. Both are publicly traded companies and that means they must provide growth but public gaze means they must do so in a responsible manner. This means identifying public desires and meeting them. In this case, the public wants greater dedication to sustainability and more quality.
I personally see Shake Shack as much higher quality than McDonald’s. Even just seeing their food side by side makes that clear. However, the nostalgia factor of McDonald’s will always be there. I grew up on Happy Meal toys and McFlurry’s, and I’ll always remember them as a great treat for happy times. That association is something Shake Shack can never buy, which makes the McDonald’s brand name highly valuable.