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Shake Shack Coming To China

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Shake Shack Inc. (SHAK) will open its first-ever restaurant in Hong Kong next year, paving the way for the burger-and-fries chain to eventually enter mainland China.

The New York-based company is partnering with licensee Maxim's Caterers Limited to bring the Shake Shack restaurant to Hong Kong. Shake Shack and Maxim's plan to open a total of 14 locations in Hong Kong and Macau through 2027.

Maxim's Caterers is an operator of full-service and quick-service restaurants as well as bakery and coffee shops in Asia. The company has over 980 outlets in Hong Kong, Macau, Mainland China, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand.

"We see tremendous opportunity for Shake Shack in Hong Kong and Macau. We're thrilled to bring the joy of Shake Shack to our fans in these dynamic communities as we continue to expand our footprint in Asia," Randy Garutti, CEO of Shake Shack, said.

The menu in Hong Kong and Macau will feature Shake Shack's signature items including the ShackBurger, Shack-cago Dog, classic crinkle-cut fries, beer, wine and frozen custard ice cream. While about 90 percent to 95 percent of the menu will be the same as in the U.S., there may be more chicken items.

Shake Shack initially began as a hot-dog cart in Madison Square Park in New York. In 2004, restaurateur Danny Meyer opened a kiosk-style Shake Shack within the park. Its popularity steadily grew to become one of the fastest-growing food chains in the country.

However, Shake Shack is now seeking to grow overseas as its home market in the U.S. becomes increasingly saturated. The chain is also said to be suffering from a lack of customer loyalty in the U.S.

But Shake Shack's expansion into China could be challenging as Western fast-food companies have faced supply chain scandals and stiff competition from local rivals in that country.

In January this year, McDonald's Corp. (MCD) agreed to sell a controlling stake in its mainland China and Hong Kong operations to a group of investors.

In November 2016, Yum Brands Inc. (YUM) said it has completed the separation of the Yum China Business into two independent, focused growth companies.

by RTT Staff Writer

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