Steak ’n Shake CEO: We could save $1 million by leaving cherries off milkshakes

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Like those financial-advice columns that suggest we solve systemic economic problems by forgoing lattes, Steak ’n Shake’s CEO has a plan to save a portion of the $19 million the company lost in the first quarter by—drumroll please—leaving cherries off milkshakes.

Indianapolis Business Journal reports investors were decidedly unimpressed by the proposal, which was part of CEO Sardard Biglari’s turnaround plan. In a meeting in April, Biglari unveiled his ideas for saving the struggling company, which include restructuring its franchise system and creating a new way of making milkshakes. The Journal calls investors “highly skeptical” of his plans; it’s hard to imagine even the most impressive milkshake technology somehow making up for a “tailspin” in customer traffic and nearly $19 million in operating losses in just one quarter. To put that in context, the chain lost $10.7 million in all of 2018.

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“The shareholders seemed to think this was ridiculous—and I would tend to agree—to think that Sardar, with all his free time, is going to be able to invent a milkshake process to turn the whole chain around,” an unnamed shareholder told IBJ.

Sardar reportedly promised a “patented” milkshake process that would speed up service and, apparently, save money on cherries. The CEO is known for being something of a maverick, but this latest unconventional plan didn’t do much to inspire confidence. And confidence is what he needs, as Steak ’n Shake is on the brink of imploding: Traffic is down, losses are up, and investors are nervous.

The Takeout has already done its part by eating all of Steak ’n Shakes burgers in one sitting.

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About the author

Kate Bernot

Kate Bernot is managing editor at The Takeout and a certified beer judge.