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QSR reports that fast-growing Shake Shack is "redefining how restaurants look and operate. And that includes future builds as well as legacy units."

The company is installing ordering kiosks and upgrading kitchen equipment, all in the service of trying to achieve "ops simplification and frictionless guest experience." And in some cases, the chain will close locations during remodels, conceding that it will have to endure some pain in order to get to where it needs to be.

CEO Randy Garutti says that "moving forward, Shake Shack will look to urban, freestanding pads, and shopping lifestyle centers. To start. And notably, the brand plans to pilot additional formats, Garutti said, including 'a few' urban units with smaller footprints that integrate digital ordering and an improved pickup experience." Some of those could be as small as 2,000 square feet, built for "the digital and delivery experience."

This seems to be a common strategy lately … opening stores that are as reductionist as possible - without diluting the essential value proposition - in urban markets and suburban markets looking to mimic some elements of the urban experience. Works for me.

• From CNN: "More than 2 million pounds of poultry products have been recalled in eight states over fears of contamination with foreign matter such as metal, federal health officials said.

"Arkansas-based Simmons Prepared Foods, Inc. recalled the items produced from October 21 through November 4 this year. They are 2,071,397 pounds of poultry products, including ready to cook chicken whole legs, boneless skinless chicken, halal chicken leg quarters and chicken tenderloins, the US Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service said Wednesday."

• From USA Today: CVS plans to close 22 stores next year, after having closed 46 stores this year.

The cuts are said to "represent fewer than 1% of about 9,900 CVS Pharmacy stores nationwide."

“We believe these decisions will generate enhanced longer-term performance,” CVS Chief Financial Officer Eva Boratto said during Wednesday’s quarterly earnings call with analysts. “Our real estate footprint remained very productive, and we will look for opportunities to further improve the performance in our portfolio.”
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