Steak ‘n Shake to Make Flip from Full-Service to Self-Service

Steak ’n Shake’s parent company, Biglari Holdings, thinks a new, more-modern recipe is in order for the chain after three years of dwindling performance.

Wanting to better position the burger-and-shake chain for the future, it’s investing in self-service kiosks at which customers can place orders. The swap from a full-service model to a self-service model was being considered pre-pandemic but the owners knew it would take several years to implement, according to Biglari Holdings CEO Sardar Biglari, who detailed the changes in his 2020 letter to shareholders, published late last month.

“In effect, the pandemic hastened the inevitable,” he wrote.

The changes carry a price tag of between $100,000-$200,000 per unit for interior remodeling, a new point-of-sale system and the kiosks.

“These expenditures will be phased in by prioritizing units that possess exemplary leadership — namely, those owned and operated by franchise partners, who invariably provide the gold standard in service,” Biglari explained, noting that each of the restaurant chain’s 86 franchise partners is on a different schedule for rolling out the new self-service model.









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