Soon, you may no longer have to fly to New York for your fill of a Shake Shack burger. We heard from an F&B industry insider that the famous burger chain from the Big Apple is rumoured to have awarded licensing rights to Korean F&B conglomerate SPC Group, who’s behind bakery café chain Paris Baguette, to set up Shake Shack in Singapore. After all, the burger brand has also partnered SPC to open Shake Shack outlets in Korea — where Paris Baguette bakes the chain’s pillowy potato flour burger buns, which Shake Shack founder Danny Meyer tells us exclusively “are as good as the ones in New York”.
The restaurateur extraordinaire, the CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group which owns other acclaimed NY eateries like Gramercy Tavern and Union Square Café, is currently in Singapore to give a talk at the Restaurant Association of Singapore. And we met him over dinner at mod Peranakan private diner Fat Fuku.
While he remains coy about confirming if Shake Shack is indeed opening in Singapore, he says, “I’d like to, it’s a possibility. My guys have visited Singapore thrice for site trips and they loved it here. It’s all about finding a good licensee.”
If our industry source is accurate, then that licensee is the Korean-owned SPC Group.
And if the rumours are true, Shake Shack Singapore’s first outlet will be at the upcoming Jewel Changi Airport, the ambitious five-storey complex connected to Terminal 1 which will house about 300 shops, food and beverage outlets, an indoor waterfall and a five-storey garden. The fancy glass-covered building — owned by Changi Airport Group and CapitaLand Mall Asia — is slated to open early 2019.
We’ve reached out to a Jewel Changi Airport spokesperson to confirm if the New York chain's first Singapore outlet is opening at the upcoming complex. Interestingly, she did not deny the rumours and merely replied over email: “Thank you for your enquiry. We will announce in due course when there are updates to share about Jewel’s tenant mix”. Vague — but promising.
We’ve also contacted SPC’s office in Singapore and were met with a curt: “Nothing is confirmed, so I can’t tell you. Actually, another team is in charge of this,” by the company’s Korean operations manager. He declined our request to be directed to the relevant team.
Shake Shack started out as a humble food cart at Manhattan’s Madison Square Park in 2000. There, artisanal burgers and hot dogs were served in support of the park’s first art installation.
The burgers were so massively popular that the food cart evolved into a permanent kiosk at the scenic park in 2004. Today, Shake Shack boasts over 170 outlets in America and overseas, including an upcoming branch in Hong Kong.
It’s no wonder — the Shack burgers are several steps up from your average fast food joint’s.
Its “proprietary Shack blend” comprises freshly ground all-natural Angus beef with no hormones or antibiotics. All patties are cooked to medium unless otherwise requested. And the aforementioned potato flour buns are super soft and feathery. The chain also serves tasty hot dogs (it did start out as a hot dog cart after all), featuring all-natural beef sausages in a potato roll.
Then there’s the ice cream — a richer, denser style called frozen custard — made using “only real sugar, no corn syrup, and milk from dairy farmers who pledge not to use artificial growth hormones”.
Watch this space for updates.