Posted by: Chris | March 10, 2008

Steak and Shake, the Primer-Coated Car with the Loud Exhaust Pipe

Steak and Shake

As I have mentioned previously, one of my little hobbies is the “study” of high-end, high quality car audio. I’m not going to provide my defense in this post, but you can read it here. One thing that really annoys me when it comes to car audio (and it’s necessary body modifications) is when a person shells out very large amounts of cash on one aspect of modification but they leave the rest of the car in shambles. You can identify these cars easily. They are covered in primer and body filler, but have an annoyingly loud exhaust system. Or, they may be covered in dings, scratches, dents, etc., and ride on 22 inch wheels. It’s laughable, and a very amateur, sophomoric design decision.

Enter Steak and Shake. This restaurant chain is one of the most heavily branded, one of the most uniquely designed (speaking literally) restaurants out there. Steak and Shake has created for itself a very lucrative opportunity simply based on its physical design (metaphorically, its expensive exhaust system or its huge, chrome wheels). However, the marketing department seemed to have stopped there. They horribly underestimated the value of services marketing. Instead of bright, ambitious wait staff, they have tired, clueless hourly labor. Instead of value added service (hosts/hostesses getting the high chair for you rather than making the customer venture back to the bathrooms to retrieve one himself-this is basic stuff people!), they have a group of workers who congregate behind the half wall that separates the dining area from the kitchen (like we can’t see you?).

The heavy branding in each Steak and Shake would suggest the restaurant would offer the same style service you might find in a 50’s burger joint. No doubt, the company spent a great deal of money on each site’s bright lights, strategically laid tile floors, neon, and flashy colors. However, because the restaurant does not follow suit on the service side, this is money down the drain.

Steak and Shake forgot to brand its service employees-such a disappointing waste. Kind of like running Polk Momo speakers off of the factory radio and a discount-store amp.

(Caveat: I speak from repeated, compelling experiences at the Tulsa, Oklahoma Steak and Shake.)



  1. That is what it’s all about; each car owner has a purpose. Here is the jest to the car ignorant; some shine like joules and are never driven, others are fast and/or loud and look like nothing worthwhile. Some of us just need to have fun with our cars that’s why they’re loud. Not everyone can pay a body shop 3k to paint their car, and if it is made to be driven why bother. Any car that has sat in a large parking lot has a dent small or large. So why spend the money on what no one respects. It might be better to spend $500 and make it faster, and that often makes it louder. I have seen people deliberately dent & scratch other people’s cars out of Jealousy or spite.
    The USA needs an attitude adjustment before all the modified cars can be painted.

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