Shake Shack’s Danny Meyer on bringing concretes and Shackburgers to more places.

By Samantha Shankman
September 11, 2015
Shake Shack
Credit: The Washington Post/Getty Images

If you love Shake Shack—and love the fact that you can now get it in internationally, not to mention in transportation hubs such as Grand Central Terminal and JFK Terminal 4—well, then you can thank Silicon Valley.

The ethos of the tech industry had a major impact on Danny Meyer, once best known for his upscale New York restaurants. Now he may be more familiar as the creator of the increasingly-ubiquitous burger joint.

On stage this week with AOL founder Steve Case at New York’s TechTable Summit, an event that brings together the tech and hospitality fields, Meyer talked about how the food world perceives a restaurant to be more valuable and more special when it is less accessible. That’s why there was almost a decade between the opening of Union Square Cafe, Meyer’s first restaurant, and Gramercy Tavern, his second.

But exposure to a different sort of mindset—starting when Meyer joined the board at online reservation service OpenTable—shifted his ideals.

“Scale is not a dirty word,” he said. “It’s the ability to bring something good to more people. Tech empowered the restaurant industry to grow.”

Meyer opened the first Shake Shack kiosk in Madison Square Park in 2004; today he has 73 locations across 12 states and 7 countries. And it’s made breakfast at the airport what you probably never thought it would be: awesome.