Shake Shack has ended its four-day workweek experiment due to COVID-19. Here's how the chain is planning to attract new employees.

Shake Shack has ended its four-day workweek experiment that was launched in January 2019 for managers.
Shake Shack has replaced the traditional four-day workweek by increasing wages and bonuses in order to attract employees.

In August, the restaurant industry, still reeling from COVID-19 losses saw 42,000 jobs disappear.

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Shake Shack began testing a four-day workweek to help it recruit managers.

Shake Shack, with more than 340 restaurants across the US and internationally, said that it no longer offers scheduling perks to managers. The chain will instead focus on hiring hourly workers in the face of a labor shortage that is continuing to plague the restaurant industry.

Insider was informed by a Shake Shack spokesperson that the 4-day workweek is currently suspended due to COVID-19. There is always the possibility it could return. However, Shake Shack's current workplace initiatives are focused upon diversity and career growth because these are two important things employees have told them.

Randy Garutti, CEO of the company, presented the four-day work test to store managers at a conference in Las Vegas two years ago. He stated that only a few stores had supervisors who worked 40 hours over a four-day period.

According to a Nation's Restaurant News article, March 2019, supervisors who tried the new schedule said Garutti that they have three days off and it improves their financial situation. They don't need to pay extra for child care.

Garutti stated at the conference that "the recruiting possibilities are enormous."

Shake Shack's priority is still recruitment, the company stated.

Shake Shack announced in July that it would spend $10 million to retain hourly workers as well as salaried managers. The company stated that it will spend $9 million to increase wages at more than half of its restaurants by 2021.

Shake Shack will also spend $1 million on bonuses for hiring and perks for managers, such as helping to pay their cell phones and paying the cost of Spotify subscriptions. On August 31, the hiring bonus program that offered bonuses to managers of $1,000 and hourly workers of $500, was ended.

Incentivizing bar and restaurant workers has been crucial for the restaurant industry. August saw 42,000 job losses, the first decline since April 2020. The overall employment in the leisure and hospitality industry, which includes restaurants, has fallen by 1.7 million jobs since pre-pandemic levels.

Throughout the pandemic, there have been job losses in the restaurant industry. NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP via Getty Images

Shake Shack has temporarily stopped offering the four-day workweek perk. However, Jason Berry, a restaurant industry veteran, told Insider that he will test a four-day workweek to salaried chefs or managers. Each shift would be 12 hours long and only focus on kitchen or dining room duties.

Berry, the founder of Washington DC-based restaurant chain KNEAD Hospitality + Design said he is excited about the prospect of hiring experienced managers who left the company due to the "grueling" schedule.

Berry stated that by creating a program that offers better work/life balance, flexibility and a greater number of opportunities, Berry hopes to attract people who are interested in the industry but have been discouraged by their lifestyles.

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