10 a.m. The staff arrives. Gary Burkhart, a soft-spoken guy with rosy cheeks, is setting up all the mix-ins for the concretes, warming the caramel sauce and hot fudge, filling whipped cream canisters with heavy cream and powdered sugar, and dumping quarts of milk in the milk machine. Just before 11 a.m., he puts on a neck-to-knee plastic apron that resembles a giant tarp. As I will learn later, the custard station is a merciless war zone of milk, hot fudge, and frozen custard. Protective gear is essential to survive.
I haven't been to the Shake Shack yet this year (a travesty I know, and one I'm working on fixing) but I did go shortly after it first opened in 2004, you can read my review (and see my photos!) from then.