Shake Shack’s Dad CEO on Giving Managers 4-Day Workweeks: ‘They Can Save on Childcare Costs’

Fast food chain Shake Shack is one of many companies that now offer some employees a shorter workweek. In a new interview, the burger joint’s CEO Randy Garutti revealed that helping parents was one of the reasons.

On January 20, the exec appeared on CNN’s podcast, Boss Files with Poppy Harlow, during which he discussed the restaurant’s efforts to attract job candidates. “We’ve gotta invest in our people. We need to pay people well. We need to give our general managers stock every year so they’re owners of this company,” he told Harlow.

In March 2019, Shake Shack made headlines when they announced that they were testing out a program that would put managers in their Las Vegas market on a four-day schedule. Since then, the offering has been expanded, and is currently at 30 percent of the chain’s 187 U.S. locations, CNN Business reports.

One of the benefits of the program, Garutti said in the interview, is that workers would save on childcare.

As a father to three kids, it’s no surprise he’s aware of how expensive it can be to find someone to look after your children. According to the Economic Policy Institute, which looked at annual childcare costs in the U.S., moms and dads in Massachusetts ($17,062), Minnesota ($14,366), New York ($14,144), Maryland ($13,932) and D.C. ($22,631) pay the most, CNBC’s Make It reports.

Garutti said he doesn’t know whether the reduced schedule will be extended to the rest of the chain’s locations. “There’s so much to figure out about this. We’re not ready to launch it, and who knows where it’ll go,” he said. However, he tells Harlow the goal is “not just retention, but more applications.” And it seems to be working; Shake Shack said that 63 percent of their job candidates actually mentioned that the shorter workweek was the main reason they wanted a job there, CNN Business notes.

And although the burger joint only pays minimum wage to workers to start, there’s opportunity for growth. “Our job is—day one—to say, you’re going to start here, it’s 15 bucks an hour [in New York]. We’re going to take you here.” Based on the Shake Shack’s 2018 annual report, 18 percent of their employees were promoted last year—and more than half are women.

Shake Shack isn’t the only company in the service industry that wants to make it affordable to care for your youngsters. In October 2018, Starbucks revealed that they had partnered with Care.com to give all employees 10 backup care days for kids and adults, at a subsidized cost of just $1 per hour for in-home care, and $5 per day for in-center backup childcare, Business Insider reports.

As of December 2019, the unemployment rate in the U.S. is at 3.5 percent—a historic low. So it makes sense that businesses are desperate to attract and retain workers with new perks. As we covered this year, Taco Bell is paying managers at select locations a $100,000 annual salary and offering at least 24 hours of paid sick time per year. In June 2019, Chipotle unveiled a bonus program that would allow for extra monthly earnings, and in October 2018, McDonald’s started a career coaching campaign.