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Shake Shack shares more than double in stock market debut

January 30, 2015 By Joseph Pisani Associated Press
The Shake Shack by Barclays Center. Eagle file photo by Lore Croghan
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Investors seem to be craving burgers and crinkle-cut fries.

Shares of Shake Shack Inc. more than doubled in their stock market debut Friday.

The burger chain, which started as a New York City hot dog cart, raised $105 million, selling 5 million shares at $21 per share, more than had been expected.

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Its shares rose $26.37 to $47.37 in late morning trading, after rising as high as $52.50 earlier. The stock is trading under the ticker symbol “SHAK” on the New York Stock Exchange.

Shake Shack cooks its burgers to order and promotes its use of natural ingredients, including hormone- and antibiotic-free beef. Long lines are common at its restaurants, and guests are given vibrating pagers that signal when an order is ready.

It took about 14 years for Shake Shack to go from the lone hot dog cart to publicly-traded company. The cart was opened in 2001 by Union Square Hospitality Group, a company owned by restaurateur Danny Meyer, in Manhattan’s Madison Square Park. Three years later, a more permanent kiosk opened in the same park.

The chain now has 63 locations in nine countries, but most of them are along the East Coast. Others are in Las Vegas, Chicago, London and Istanbul. It plans to use some of the money raised to open restaurants in new markets, including one in Austin, Texas. In 2013, the company had revenue of $84.5 million, up 45 percent from the previous year. It posted a profit of $5.4 million in 2013, up 31 percent from 2012.

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