Food inflation is likely to continue this year, but Shake Shack Inc (NYSE: SHAK) CEO Randy Garutti is still positive that 2022 will be the “biggest growth year ever” for the restaurant company.
Highlights from Garutti’s interview on CNBC’s ‘Closing Bell’
We’ve had this strong, consistent, slow recovery through COVID that peaked in Q4 because things were starting to move again. We beat sales by over 30%. Even our comps versus 2019 were up for the first time since the pandemic.
According to Garutti, Shake Shack continued to open new stores through the pandemic and have similar plans for 2022 as well. The restaurant chain launched 62 new locations (domestic and international combined) last year and is looking at up to 75 more in 2022.
Labour shortage continues to be a challenge
On the downside, the chief executive agreed that labour shortage was still a significant challenge for Shake Shack and, in fact, for the food industry at large. He added:
Staffing’s been hard through COVID. It was exceptionally hard last year, and in this moment, it’s tougher than ever. We started to get staffed again in Q4, but in recent weeks due to Omicron, we’ve been impacted. We had to shorten hours at some Shacks and had various closures on and off.
He, however, expects the effects of Omicron to be short-lived and is confident the company will pull out of it shortly. Shake Shack launched its first drive-thru in Q4 and aims at opening another 10 this year.
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