As Shake Shack prepares to launch one of America’s new darlings of chilli crisp into the U.K., fans of its burgers need not worry about the provenance of its buns.
The burger giant is currently under pressure over its use of legendary burger bun, the Martin’s potato roll, in the U.S. This follows the revelation that executive Jim Martin has donated over $100,000 to Philadelphia senator Doug Mastriano, who has “supported anti-abortion laws with no exceptions and denialist ideas about both COVID vaccines and the legitimacy of the 2020 election.” Indeed, Donald Trump endorsed Mastriano during his time as President of the United States.
Shake Shack is estimated to use tens of millions of Martins potato rolls per year, and while it’s far from the only U.S. burger restaurant to do so, its global reach and — for a corporate, at least — its comparatively progressive public image is far more beneficial to Martin’s public image than any of its counterparts.
Though Danny Meyer’s fast-food enterprise launched its U.K. restaurants with Martin’s rolls in 2013 (going as far as to have it develop a non-GMO recipe to ship over vast numbers of containers), it now claims to use a U.K.-based producer. A spokesperson for the brand told Eater that “we do not use Martin’s rolls in the U.K., we use a local bakery.” They said it hasn’t used Martin’s rolls since 2017, though didn’t want to publicly share details of its supplier.
To date, Shake Shack’s response to calls for boycotts extends to the following:
In regards to the actions of individuals associated with the Martin’s company and their personal political donations, those are the choices of those individuals and do not express the values of Shake Shack. We continue to be in active conversations with Martin’s to express our concern.
Meanwhile, back in London, Shack Shack is collaborating with Fly by Jing, Jing Gao’s hyped Sichuan condiment line, for a new menu that will include both a chicken burger and chicken bites, and some cheesy fries, all drizzled with Fly by Jing’s chilli crisp.