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Rain may have put a damper on Shake Shack’s business

New York Post

By: Lisa Fickenscher

Shake Shack burgers are worth a trip — unless you have to get soaking wet.

An especially rainy May and June in the Northeast has likely put a damper on sales at Shake Shack’s burger joints, which rely heavily on open-air seating, according to a Wall Street analyst.

The New York-based chain founded by Danny Meyer will likely see its same-store sales drop 2.5 percent in the current quarter, according to Goldman Sachs — a downbeat view versus the consensus expectation for a 0.4-percent gain.

Goldman analyst Karen Holthouse notes that Shake Shack’s flagship in the middle of Madison Square Park in Manhattan is “entirely outdoors,” with customers frequently forced to queue up and wait outside for their burgers and fries.

Six of Shake Shack’s 11 Big Apple eateries have outdoor seating, Holthouse noted. And at the Shake Shack on the Upper West Side at 366 Columbus Ave., the kitchen is bigger than the entire seating area, frequently forcing patrons onto park benches across the street around the Natural History Museum.

There were 14 days of inclement weather from May 4 through June 25, compared with just eight days of rain over the same period a year ago, Goldman noted.

The weather theory is not so far-fetched. The Cheesecake Factory recently pre-announced that its same store sales for the second quarter are down 1 percent and blamed the “weather headwinds” in the East and Midwest because the chain couldn’t seat diners on its patios.

For restaurants with outdoor seating, bad weather is “a double whammy” said Evan Gold, executive vice president of Planalytics, which tracks weather trends for retailers.

“Diners shift to delivery services or drive-thru when it rains, and restaurants don’t make up those lost sales,” Gold said. “It’s not like someone will order two lunches the next day when it stops raining.”

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