How do you build true community into your business and your life? On this episode of Add Passion and Stir, Shake Shack CEO Randy Garutti and cookbook author Katie Workman (The Mom 100 and Dinner Solved!) discuss how their passion for food shaped their commitment to hospitality and community. “The bigger we get, the smaller we have to act,” says Garutti about the 164 restaurants he oversees worldwide. For Shake Shack, that means teaming up with as many local and artisanal food producers as possible and also becoming active members of their restaurants’ local communities. Workman, who has been a supporter of Share Our Strength for 25 years, believes that most people who are drawn to food as a profession are concerned with hunger. “I don’t think I would be as satisfied by what I do for a living if helping to feed hungry people wasn’t a big part of it,” she says. Garutti believes the restaurant business is a noble profession where the main responsibility is to take care of people every single day. “We start by taking care of our team first, only then can we take care of our guests and our communities, our suppliers, and ultimately the people who invest in us,” he says.
Host Billy Shore asks Garutti how he builds community spirit into the company. He responds that Shake Shack looks for people who are intellectually curious, have a good work ethic and a strong emotional intelligence. “We call those things ‘the 51% of you.’ We’ve never asked someone in an interview if they know how to make a milkshake – we’ll teach you how to do the 49% of the job that’s technical – but we can’t teach you how to be emotionally aware,” he says. Contributing to her community is also important to Workman, who serves on the Board of City Harvest in New York City. “To love what you do is probably up there with the greatest gifts that you can have. And to be able to also use that as a way to give back, make other peoples’ lives enriched in some way…you are a pretty lucky person,” she concludes.
Listen to this conversation between two long-time Share Our Strength supporters about what it means to be active members of their communities.