Restaurant Chain Tries 'Big Thing' to Entice Workers

The Shake Shack experiments in Las Vegas
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 16, 2019 3:00 PM CDT

(Newser) – A burger chain is grappling with America's tight labor market by trying something new: the four-day work week, Bloomberg reports. Randy Garutti, CEO of Shake Shack Inc, says he hopes to entice workers amid the country's nearly five-decade low in unemployment. "Here in Las Vegas, in some of our Shacks, we're testing a four-day work week," he says. "That's a big thing. Nobody's really been able to figure that out in the restaurant business." He announced the move at a Vegas investor conference Thursday, saying it's just an experiment for now, per MarketWatch. But with a 70% turnover rate for two years straight, the hospitality industry could use new ideas.

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And Shake Shack isn't alone: KPMG and Deloitte have been offering four-day weeks with flex hours, allowing workers to put in 40 hours over four days or reduce weekly hours by 20%. It's hardly a US standard—one survey shows that only 43% of US companies offer such an option—but some Michelin-star restaurants around the world are already offering workweeks of three or four days. "It was always tense before" with five-day weeks, the maitre d' of Maaemo in Norway told Munchies in 2017. "...I'd be pissed off at the waiters because they weren’t smiling enough. But now we’ve turned into normal people. It gives you that boost." (Read more working conditions stories.)

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