As Shake Shack continues its rapid pace of expansion, the new role is a necessary addition to keep up with the local food partnerships and chef collaborations that have become part of the chain's signature offerings.
— Erika Adams
Now that Shake Shack’s innovation lab is open for business, leadership is starting to stack the team in the test kitchen. The chain announced today that the culinary team is adding a new role in menu development, executive chef and vice president of culinary innovation, and it’s scooping a Union Square Hospitality Group veteran for the position.
Chef John Karangis most recently spent seven years leading operations as executive chef at Union Square Events, where he led the group’s catering division, developed new concepts for retail and sports venues including pizza counter Papa Rosso at Citi Field and the 9/11 Memorial Museum Café, and oversaw operations and negotiated chef collaborations at various other Union Square outposts, including the Conrad Hotel and Tacocina.
As Shake Shack’s new vice president of culinary innovation, Karangis will work with culinary director Mark Rosati on menu development in all its forms, from creating localized menu items for new Shack openings to helping out with the chain’s well-known chef collaborations. Karangis will start in his new role on October 29.
“Shake Shack is more committed than ever to growth, evolution and culinary excellence. With the recent addition of our innovation kitchen, we are acutely focused on further developing a thoughtful and exciting menu for our guests. I couldn’t think of a better chef than John to lead us there,” Shake Shack CEO Randy Garutti said in a statement.
On its most recent earnings call, Shake Shack reiterated plans to open up to 35 new locations by the end of the year — although openings have since been delayed in several areas — and expand total footprint to 200 locations by the end of 2020.