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On December 14, 2015, Sasha commented on Maple: A Restaurant without a Restaurant :

I love this idea. A truly disruptive concept in the food industry. I really like how you pointed out the value proposition in the traditional restaurant experience and how that is embedded in today’s pricing model for meals, which results in delivery customers footing a bill that they have no business paying for. The 30 minute window seems a little short, and potentially much more conservative than the current “Willingness to Pay” in time. However I imagine that the time challenge has helped in really pushing their operations, in this case the preparation of food, to make them as efficient as possible. I do see logistical issues in scaling this up to capture the potential market. However with those issues come interesting opportunities to innovate (drone delivery technology? self-driving food trucks – cook on the way?) in their operating model to capture that value. Agreed, would love to see one of these in Boston!

On December 14, 2015, Sasha commented on Employees and Community at Shake Shack :

Great choice! I thought about writing about Shake Shack as well. We are actually focusing on this business as part of our FIELD 2 project, which is to attract young families to a local bakery in Brazil. Our client has cited Shake Shack several times as a business model that they would like to emulate. Doing our market research, it was evident why. They hit all of the important points for attracting families to not only go to the restaurant, but make it a weekly go-to spot that is actually quite meaningful to them. They have all the small logistical components that are actually quite critical to bringing families in, such as having modern changing tables, high-chairs, movable furniture to cater to different sized groups, and an elevator to get to a second floor for people with strollers. Additionally, the “family friendly” feel to a restaurant is so powerful in giving families a place where they don’t have to feel ostracized if their child becomes disruptive. It really is an emotional connection that they form with their customer, which keeps them happy and returning to the business. Shake Shack’s staff are incredibly conscientious of their customers’ needs and of how important it is to deliver superior customer service. These key elements, although seemingly simple, are often missed on several dimensions by competitors, and are crucial to success in the industry.

On December 14, 2015, Sasha commented on Strategy&: Delivering Strategy through Execution :

Very interesting! Agreed, yet another consulting-bound recruit here. It is amazing to see how the “Big Three” consulting firms have been incredibly successful in building brand equity that is difficult to compete against in the industry. I’m glad to see some of the other players (Deeps, Monitor Deloitte is a great example) start to make moves to disrupt that leadership in the market. I am very interested to see how the landscape changes in the next few years. Strategy& may have a unique value proposition in their business and operational models in the short-term, but I feel that the competition has been quick to react to the increased demand for implementation capabilities. You are absolutely right, are they sufficiently differentiated to make an actual difference in their stance in the long-run is the real question.