Fast food and popular culture so often go hand in hand. You’ll see everything from real-life burgers inspired by the “Bob’s Burgers” sitcom to McDonald’s cult Szechuan Sauce from the 1998 movie “Mulan” collaborations to entire menus crafted specifically for football season.
These tie-ins are often a double whammy for fast-food companies since such collaborations often attract both fans and those drawn in solely by the new flavors.
More and more, chains have also turned away from traditional media like films and TV shows and toward social media influencers and YouTube. Tex-Mex chain Chipotle frequently gets various social media stars to create their custom burrito for fans to order through the website or mobile app.
A Piping Hot Menu
Popular New York-based burger chain Shake Shack is the latest to test the influencer game with a collaboration with the food magazine First We Feast’s viral YouTube series “Hot Ones.”
Around on YouTube since 2015, the show created by Christopher Schonberger and Sean Evans has a different celebrity guest eat 10 chicken wings with progressively hotter sauces. (If the guest is vegetarian, the wings get replaced with a suitable soy or seitan alternative)
The show has run 18 seasons and attracts millions of viewers due to the popularity of celebrities such as Kevin Hart, Padma Lakshmi and Neil deGrasse Tyson.
Featuring foul-mouthed celeb chef Gordon Ramsay’s appearance, the series’ most popular episode has more than 110 million views.
As part of their collab with the show and its creators, Shake Shack is releasing a menu with four “Hot Ones” items. The chain’s popular beef burger, chicken sandwich, cheese fries and bacon cheese fries will all be available topped with Hot Ones Spicy ShackSauce.
The fries will also be dusted with Aleppo pepper for that extra heat and sell for $5.09 without bacon. The burger will go for $8.29 while the chicken sandwich will sell for $8.59.
Exact prices may also vary due to, among widespread inflation, differing and rapidly-changing food prices in different parts of the country.
Spicing Things Up At Shake Shack
This is a limited-time promotion that will be available at select Shake Shack locations on Sept. 16. In the usual fast food company push to get more customers to use their app, Shake Shack is giving those who order one of the four items through it early access on September 13.
Shake Shack will also be selling packets of the The Last Dab: Apollo hot sauce developed by celebrity chili pepper breeder Ed Currie.
“Made with a new pepper from Smokin’ Ed Currie, The Last Dab: Apollo is the first of its kind and is a must-have for Shack fans looking to rev up the spice level on these new offerings,” the company said in a statement.
While this is Shake Shack’s first foray into the sauce world, the chain regularly offers limited-time promotions that tie into popular trends or happenings.
Earlier this month, the chain released the Pumpkin Patch Shake for the year’s annual pumpkin spice mania. As many states’ move to legalize marijuana use becomes more destigmatized, Shake Shack also experimented with a seasonal shake called the “Wake And Shake” — a subtle nod to the stoner term “Bake and Shake.”
That one was a particular favorite and stirred up the desired online viral frenzy.
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This story was originally published September 13, 2022 1:01 PM.
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