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Anodized Metal Enhances Image For Trendy Restaurant's High-Profile Locations

By Steven F. Soderberg, Lorin Industries, Inc.

It’s difficult to imagine Shake Shack as anything other than a trendy global food destination. But Shake Shack began just a few years ago in 2013, as a humble hot dog cart in Manhattan’s Madison Square. Fast forward six years and Shake Shack has become a global phenomenon, serving up delicious burgers, fries, and frozen custard from Boston to Bahrain. Today, the casual restaurant chain operates over 200 restaurants, each with its trademark sleek surfaces and modern look. With high-profile venues like Manhattan’s Grand Central Terminal, Washington’s DuPont Circle, and London’s Leicester Square, Shake Shack has to look the part to draw in customers.

Opening new Shake Shack franchises to feed a global demand is easy, but designing the chain restaurants to be both aesthetically pleasing and durable can be a challenge. As part of Shake Shack’s mission to Stand For Something Good®, each Shack is thoughtfully constructed and purposefully designed to fit its specific environment. To honor this commitment, the design team utilizes a creative approach that creates places and experiences unique to that location. Shake Shack operates both stand-alone restaurants and municipal center storefronts. All endure high customer traffic and heavy use. What material would endure heavy use as part of a popular food destination but also embody that modern sleekness so characteristic of Shake Shack restaurants around the globe?

Holiday decorations complement the sleek exterior, finished with Lorin Medium Bronze coil anodized aluminum, of a Shake Shack on East 86th Street in New York City.

For both the exteriors and the interior counters and walls of the restaurants, the project designers sought a clean but rugged urban wall pattern. They wanted to incorporate the natural metallic look of real zinc, but quartz zinc, in addition to being very expensive, fingerprints easily and degrades when exposed to standard cleaning solvents. This would, clearly, have been impractical for a busy fast food joint like Shake Shack. Another obstacle: the vinegar in some condiments, like ketchup and mustard, stained many of the zinc and copper surfaces originally installed in many locations. While painted aluminum was considered for the project, the finish was too glossy and lacked the authentic luster of original metal. Sure to encounter spills, Shake Shack would need a modern, high-quality material that could withstand fast-paced food service and dining.

The busy restaurant at Union Station in Washington DC attracts customers with a warm facade of metal panels fabricated from Lorin Antique Copper coil anodized aluminum. 

Enter Lorin coil anodized aluminum. The project designers wanted a standard, authentic metal look at each Shake Shack that could be easily customizable with a unique colored finish for each individual location. Ultimately, they selected Metafor™ structural ribbed panels by ATAS International, in Allentown, PA, for a robust and distinctive horizontal profile with a concealed fastener system. For the color and finish on the panels, they chose the real metallic look of coil anodized aluminum by Lorin Industries. Across various Shake Shack locations, you can spot these complementary colors, including AnoZinc®, ColorIn® Antique Copper, ColorIn®BlackMatt, Copper Penny, and ColorIn®Dark Bronze. Plus, condiments wipe right off without leaving stains on the beautiful, functional finish.

The Shake Shack in West Hollywood, CA, serves hungry customers in a clean, modern environment elevated by the Lorin Colorin BlackMatt coil anodized aluminum finish.

“They wanted something with an authentic metal look that transitioned well between colors at each location,” recalls ATAS International Product Manager Chris Kroeter. “The anodized finish provided a great natural look, was easy to clean, and was readily available. Combine that with smaller minimum quantities, good formability in the ATAS profile and the lower price anodized offered, and the choice was clear.”

As the trendy chain expands to dozens of new locations, the rich color of Lorin anodized aluminum and bold contours of ATAS wall panels will be a recognizable and signature look for the Shake Shack organization for years to come.

About Lorin Industries

Lorin-logoLorin Industries is a provider of coil anodized aluminum, made exclusively in the USA and used in various industries including architecture and construction. Family-owned for over 80 years, Lorin aluminum can be seen shining brilliantly on some of the world’s most iconic structures and designs, and, no matter the age, they are always radiant. Three times tougher than the raw material, anodized aluminum won’t chip, flake, peel, patina, rust, or weather. And to make things easy, Lorin cleans, anodizes, colors, seals, cuts, and delivers ready-to-fabricate coils all in one stop. A wide range of colors and finish options are available, along with several different patterns of perforated aluminum.

Anodized aluminum isn’t just one material. It’s one remarkable opportunity to access thousands of looks, textures, colors and finishes that reflect creativity, advanced technology and environmental responsibility. No one understands that technology and its potential better than Lorin Industries. To learn more, visit

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