Goldman Sachs: Too Big to Wait In Line at Shake Shack?

A rumor of a "private Goldman grill" at the always mobbed New York burger stand

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Lunch and power frequently mix in New York City. Consider magazine publisher Condé Nast, which is rumored to have made a $1 million ventilation shaft to accommodate its private cafeteria a condition of its lease at 1 World Trade Center. Goldman Sachs may be no different in its demands for corporate lunch arrangements.

Dealbook's Bess Levin notes that high finance has long struggled to crack the code of the perpetually-mobbed eateries ("Senior employees at Credit Suisse, whose building is located across from the original Madison Park Shack, have attempted work-arounds for years, i.e. sending junior staff to wait on line and place orders for them, but still, they wait," Levin writes.) According to an anonymous tipster who had lunch today at the chain's just-opened 215 Murray St. location, Goldman has a special arrangement with management.

Was just at the newly opened Shake Shack across street from GS building. Standing next to a GS employee complaining that his order is taking forever, manager of Shack comes over and says “it’s on the Goldman private grill, I’m sorry there was a big order in front of you, that’s all I can do.” (The SS is open to the public but GS owns the building, which I guess is how they got the private grill.)

However, in a phone interview with The Atlantic Wire, the location's manager denied that Goldman has any special line or grill  arrangement, saying that "the Goldman grill is a different place. This is Shake Shack." Then she hung up, before we could ask her why an order for a burger at Shake Shack on Murray St. was being filled at a "different place." We assume she was talking about the Goldman private cafeteria on the 11th floor of the firm's 200 West headquarters. But again, why go there if the service is so friendly at Shake Shack? It would be a uniquely Goldman arrangement where the fringe benefits have always been good: free sex change operations, six-figure jobs for employees' relatives, and $15.3 billion in annual bonuses. Now it looks like they have the biggest New York perk of all: cuts in line at at Shake Shack. Then again, the tipster could be full of it. Any Goldman types care to weigh-in?

Update: A representative from Union Square Hospitality told Gothamist there's "absolutely no truth" to the private grill story. A Goldman rep also denied it to Daily Intel. Counting our chat with Shake Shack's manager (who unlike someone from PR, would have to know about any hush-hush grilling program if it existed, which it probably doesn't), that makes three strong denials. Which is what you're supposed to say when the press confronts you about your private Shake Shack grill. We'd still love to hear from folks at Goldman (non-PR folks) before consigning this to the urban legend bin. You guys must have a secret grill somewhere.

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