Moses Annenberg
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Shake Shack Founder Says In-N-Out "Way, Way Upped The Fast Food Game"

The fine dining veteran recently took his own gourmet burger chain public. But he has nothing but praise for In-N-Out, which he says “way, way upped the fast food game”

Shake Shack started out as a hot dog stand in a New York City park and, over 14 years, turned it into a global burger chain with a cult-like following in New York, more than 60 locations all over the world, and an IPO in January.

BuzzFeed News spoke with Danny Meyer, the fine-dining veteran who founded Shake Shack, about what influence the company has had, whether it can expand across the entire country, and his favorite burgers. Here are some of his edited comments.

Nicholas Kamm / Getty Images

Shake Shack was an accident, we didn't intend for it to become anything more than a hot dog stand in a hut.

I don't want my answer to come across like we had any idea what we were doing, because we didn't, and there wasn't any plan or intention behind how it might influence other people.

Chipotle deserves the lion's share of credit for inspiring people from the fine dining industry to say that stuff we're doing — that we have to charge 20, 30, 40 dollars for a chef and a sous chef and a pastry chef and a maître d, and reservations, and bartenders, and waiters, and, flowers and table cloths — that the world really wants well-sourced, well-prepared food, but occasionally they don't need to sit at a table and be served.

My hope, and I see this happening everywhere, is that restaurants like Shake Shack can inspire other people from the fine dining industry to try their game of taking mission driven business and taking food to the public and making it more accessible to the people.

Lucas Richarz / Via

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