ST. LOUIS — Say goodbye to the Steak ‘n Shake you once knew and hello to its modern upgrade. The American fast-food chain is switching from dine-in service to a self-service model.
Right now, most of the chain’s dining rooms are closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But when they reopen, customers will be served through an unattended kiosk.
Biglari Holdings, Steak n’ Shake’s parent company, said food preparations took too long in the past and paying wait staff for table service was too expensive.
Although the fundamentals of Steak n’ Shake remain the same, its new motto focuses on simplicity and efficiency.
Sardar Biglari, CEO and chairman of Biglari Holdings, wrote in a letter to investors that the chain "is in an era of radical transformation."
The letter also mentioned that the upfront costs will be an investment of around $100,000 and $200,000 for each restaurant. That includes the remodel and addition of a new point of sale and self-service equipment.
Another major change to the chain is its franchise partnership program.
For an upfront cost of $10,000, you could own your own Steak n’ Shake.
Biglari Holdings would assess a fee of up to 15% of sales and 50% of profits. But the parent company will pay for construction of the restaurant and its equipment.
In total, Biglari Holdings owns six businesses: Steak n Shake, Western Sizzlin, Maxim, First Guard, Southern Oil, and Southern Pioneer.
St. Louis has nine Steak n’ Shakes. Only two of them are temporarily closed.
The chain was founded in 1934 on Route 66 and is the originator of the Steakburger and legendary milkshakes.