I met Allie on our first day in college in the communal bathroom both clumsily trying to figure out how to assemble our Brita water pitchers. After making a little bit of small talk trying to figure out how work those god damn things, I realized we would be fast friends living down the hall from one another. Allie was probably the exact opposite of someone I had been friends with in high school- she was always experimenting with crazy hair colors, went out to party on the week days and was full of mischief. Maybe opposites attract because we’ve been inseparable best friends since meeting.
Allie and I were roommates our senior year of college and then made the plunge to move to Boston over a year and a half ago. She’s absolutely my ride or die and I’m so proud of what she’s accomplished so far in her career. A company called Shake Shack did an introduction in one of our classrooms and she was immediately hooked on the personality of the company and the ideals they personify.
Shake Shack started as a tiny hot dog cart in Madison Square park in 2001 and has since grown into a large and ever expanding quick service restaurant over the past 15 years. Allie and I both graduated with the same degree- Baking & Pastry Arts and Food Service Management but we’ve gone two completely different routes with our degrees. Allie is currently a manager for the Dedham, MA branch and is looking to move to California within the next year to help open new storefronts.
I convinced Allie to let me interview her about her job to share some more insight about the vast world of food service with you guys! Check it out below!
Abby: Shake Shack has a huge following. How have you drank the Kool-aid?
Allie: I think I drank the kool-aid the moment I realized what a great company Shake Shack is. The more I learned about them, the more I knew I wanted to work for them. In terms of their following, I’m surprised everyday about how enthusiastic people are about our food, our culture and our personality. I’m just happy to be a part of it.
Abby: What does your role as a manager entail? What are some daily struggles and rewards?
Allie: When most people think about a manager, they would think of someone who is behind the scenes and solves problems when they arise. I’ve learned that my role is much more. On a daily basis, I order all of our products from multiple vendors, make sure we are fully staffed, hire new team members, handle private events, coordinate volunteer opportunities in our community, work through issues between team members, organize training, payroll and facility issues but most importantly ensure guests have a great experience with us. Since working for Shake Shack, I’ve developed my skills as a friend, co-worker, boss, therapist, mom, parole officer, plumber and handyman but know that I make my Shack a better place day in and day out make it much easier.
Abby: Was going to Johnson & Wales University a good experience for you? Has your education added to your experience in your career?
Allie: Johnson & Wales definitely played a huge role in my position with Shake Shack. I never would’ve heard about Shake Shack until my area director came to one of my management classes. She sold me so hard on Shake Shack and I knew instantly that I wanted to work there. The networking at Johnson & Wales was readily available if I needed it. In terms of skills, I use pretty much zero of my baking degree which is fine with me. I definitely use some of the skills from my hospitality and management classes but are they things I could’ve learned on the job? Yeah for sure. I’ve learned so much more first-hand since graduation. Sometimes I do feel like I paid for a name and networking but so many people in the industry feel that way. Either way, I wouldn’t have done anything differently.
Abby: What are your future goals with Shake Shack or with your career in general?
Allie: My future goals with Shake Shack currently are to move west in hopes of securing a regional training position. I definitely want to get my name in a new market and make a difference there. I’m so thankful my job can take me all over geographically. Not to mention all of the growth potential and skills I can learn along the way. I would love to be that person that travels to locations to help set up training infrastructures that helps make Shake Shack a better place. We shall see!
Abby: Why are you in the industry? Where does the drive come from?
Allie: I remember my chef in high school telling my classmates about some of the sacrifices you make for this industry: family, life, holidays, a social life, fully functioning knees by the time you’re 50… But the way I feel about the work I do and the differences I make with my team keep me coming back day after day. My confidence of knowing I’ve done a good job is irreplaceable. I love seeing the process from beginning to end: ringing a customer on cash and helping them to make a menu choice, hopping on bun to start an order, then onto expo to finish the order with my staff to finally watching a guest loving every minute of it… I know they’ll be back and that’s the best feeling in the world.
I hope you enjoyed another peek into the food service life! I find this industry so vast and interesting with an abundance of choices that I have to share! If you’ve never been to a Shake Shack- check it out! Their food is SO GOOD!
Netflix is one of the loves of my life next to my bed and food so come back on Tuesday to check out my Netflix documentary obsessions! Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!