Shake Shack to Open Its First Location in Canada
Image Credit - Shake Shack
09 May, 2024

Shake Shack to Open Its First Location in Canada

New York's beloved burger and shake chain Shake Shack is making its long-awaited Canadian debut. After years of buzz and a popular pop-up in 2017, Shake Shack is finally crossing the border to open its first international outpost in Toronto.

The flagship Canadian Shake Shack will take over a prime 5,500 square foot corner space at the iconic Yonge-Dundas Square in downtown Toronto. The high-profile intersection used to have an Adidas store, but it will soon become a place to taste New York City fast food.

Set to open early this summer, the Toronto Shack will offer a menu very familiar to fans of the brand. Diners can expect Shake Shack's signature items like crispy crinkle-cut fries, juicy flat-top smash burgers, and thick, indulgent hand-spun milkshakes. A rep confirmed prices are still being finalized.

While most of the menu will be the same as in the United States, Shake Shack is adding a few special items for Canada too. Exclusive to this location will be a rich, sweet "Maple Salted Pretzel Shake" – vanilla custard blended with real maple syrup and salty pretzels.

Unlike most domestic fast food joints, the Toronto Shack will also offer adult beverage options including beer and wine on tap. "It definitely sets us apart," notes Billy Richmond, Shake Shack Canada's business director.

The downtown Toronto opening marks just the start for Shake Shack's expansion north. The brand partnered with local firms to develop at least 35 locations nationwide by 2035. While Richmond is mum on specifics, he teased "we're really excited expanding across the Greater Toronto Area, Ontario, and other provinces."

Shake Shack was founded in 2004 as a humble New York City hot dog cart before exploding into a global phenomenon with cult-like devotees. It now operates over 350 locations spanning 35 U.S. states and international outposts from London to Dubai.

Shake Shack is coming to Canada at the same time as many other casual dining chains. Jersey Mike's and Jimmy John's also have ambitious growth plans as big brands look to capitalize on the Canadian market's potential.

Still, some analysts wonder if Shake Shack's premium-but-simple burgers and concretes will be a tough sell in the highly competitive $90 billion Canadian industry. The U.S. is a "much more value-driven" market, one expert notes.

We can only wish Shake Shack luck with its first Canadian restaurant and hope Torontonians enjoy it as we do.