After its shocking Health Department Inspection (140 points - point levels between 0 and 27 are acceptable!) threw its burger-, hot dog- and concrete-loving constituency into a frenzy (Eater was especially distressed by the "Food worker does not wash hands thoroughly after visiting the toilet, coughing, sneezing, smoking, preparing raw foods or otherwise contaminating hands" violation; the Post got someone to admit, "It's in the park, they have good prices, and they don't use frozen meat. But if it's dirty, then I definitely won't come back here ."), the Shake Shack has issued a response to allay any fears people may have. They sent us a letter from Danny Meyer stressing the report wasn't as "bleak" as it seemed, as well as a list of the violations and how Shake Shack will address them - or has actually been operating in accordance to them:

August 15, 2006

As you may have heard, Shake Shack performed poorly when it was inspected by the Health Department on July 25, 2006. There is no excuse for these results, and we have already addressed every point aggressively with the goal of getting an “A” on our re-inspection. The facts are not nearly as bleak as what you may have read or heard.

Operating a small, stand-alone establishment in a park is both a privilege and a challenge; we work hard every day to provide the cleanest possible environment for our guests, as well as the safest and most comfortable workplace for our employees. The major violations for which we were cited were either structural or operational. None found conditions of vermin, mucus, urine or feces.

To give you a better understanding of the situation, I am including an attachment of the actual violations cited by the Health Department accompanied by our action steps for each one. As you can see, we have already made several changes and improvements. As an additional measure, we have hired an outside consultant to do twice-weekly inspections and to provide us with reports so we can remain proactive in our goal to operate the cleanest, most organized and well maintained operation possible for the thousands of enthusiastic guests who line up to enjoy the Shack every day.

In our quest to continually improve, I welcome your thoughts and ideas.


Danny Meyer

They do take suggestions seriously - they got that webcam, after all. And here's Shake Shack's violation-by-violation response with thoughts/solutions - for instance, employees have taken food-prep courses and now meat and cheese will be stored in separate coolers.

Does this make you feel better? Were you worried or would you throw caution to the bun? And while 140 points is bad and does give Shake Shack the second most-violations, it's not Candilejas in Brooklyn with 610 points!!

Photograph by Jesse Chan-Norris from Shake Shack's 2006 opening day.