Olivia Leung, Marketing Lead of Shake Shack Hong Kong and Macau.

Behind Shake Shack Hong Kong’s biggest menu change

The brand said limited-time-only (LTO) delights and new menu launches help keep consumer attention.

When Shake Shack Hong Kong first launched the new Avocado Bacon Burger and Avocado Bacon Chicken in 2022 it was an instant hit, with the brand selling over 100 avocado burgers per day.

A year after launching, Shake Shack decided to make it a permanent addition to its menu.

“We observed consistently strong sales and positive customer feedback demanding its comeback after the last launch of the LTO (limited-time-only delight),” Olivia Leung, Marketing Lead of Shake Shack Hong Kong and Macau said in an interview with QSR media. “Seeing the Avocado Bacon Menu resonated well with our guests, it became clear that it had the potential to become a permanent fixture on our menu.”

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Olivia explained that avocados had gained immense popularity in Hong Kong, even becoming a staple in many people’s diets.

“They are known for their creamy texture and nutritional benefits. Avocado adds a rich and indulgent element to the dish whilst complementing the smoky and savoury notes of bacon. This pairing appeals to a wide range of taste preferences and satisfies the desire for a flavourful and satisfying meal. By incorporating avocados as a core menu item, we are catering to the evolving preferences of our customers who seek nutritious and delicious options.”

Sophisticated consumer base

Unlike typical fast-food brands, Shake Shack is considered a fine-casual restaurant. It does not have a high price point like fine dining restaurants but isn’t considered a fast-food restaurant.

This is an advantage in Hong Kong as most consumers, according to Olivia, are discerning and sophisticated — they seek more than just speed and convenience.

“Customers now expect a memorable dining experience that goes beyond the food itself. As a fine-casual F&B brand in Hong Kong, Shake Shack recognises this and places a strong emphasis on hospitality,” said Olivia. “We strive to create a welcoming and comfortable atmosphere for our guests, ensuring that guests feel valued and cared for during their visit.”

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For example, Shake Shack’s brand value is to Stand for Something Good. In one way, this means providing more fresh ingredients and new menu items in its rosters. Shake Shack uses freshly sliced avocados daily and gives options to include them in other menu items, giving consumers the customisation they crave.

“In order to stay relevant and innovative in a market with ever-changing trends and preferences, Shake Shack has also continually evaluated and adapted its offerings by introducing new menu items and limited-time offerings to keep the menu fresh and exciting. This approach allows us to capture the attention of customers and keep them engaged, ensuring that they have a reason to return to Shake Shack,” Olivia said.

Brand appeal

According to the government’s latest census in the fourth quarter of 2023, the value of total purchases by restaurants increased by 7.8% year-on-year. However, diving deeper, the total receipts of Chinese restaurants increased by 10.4% in value and 6.5% in volume, whilst non-Chinese restaurants increased by 2.1% in value, but decreased by 0.8% in volume.

This shows that Hong Kong consumers still lean towards picking Chinese restaurants over others. 

This is why localisation and creating a unique appeal to consumers is important. For example, with the return of the Avocado Bacon menu, Shake Shack collaborated with Hong Kong pin badges brand PERKS to design three exclusive “Avocado Bacon Pins” with interesting slangs or phrases included, such as “Chief Avocado Officer”.

“These limited-edition pins not only added an element of excitement and collectability to the return of the Avocado Bacon menu, but also added a sense of fun for the local customers,” Olivia said.

Stand for Something Good will continue to drive Shake Shack’s plans, especially in Hong Kong. This means sourcing premium ingredients, providing exceptional hospitality, and connecting with the local community.

Looking ahead, Olivia said Shake Shack plans to place a strategic focus on digital transformation to enhance customers’ experience.

“The mobile ordering platform and mobile order-to-table function in our outlets allow guests to easily place their orders and have a seamless dining experience, whilst the self-ordering kiosks will also empower guests to customise their meals and order at ease,” Olivia added.

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