SoulCycle vs. Shake Shack: Burning calories is a better business than burgers

The ultimate battle.
The ultimate battle.
We may earn a commission from links on this page.

SoulCycle filed for an IPO today, and the document revealed that its wealthy, cult-like customer base is largely drawn from America’s “urban elites”: 97% of its revenue last year came from New York City, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.

Shake Shack, a self-described “fine casual” burger chain that filed its financials in December before an IPO earlier this year, has a pretty similar consumer profile. It’s a bit pricier than the average chain, and a big chunk of its locations are in places like New York, Washington, DC, and London. Both are growing pretty quickly…

But the comparison stops there.

Shake Shack brings in a bit more money, yes…

..but SoulCycle’s profits are in another league:

In fact, the typical SoulCycle studio is about twice as profitable as a Shack Shack restaurant. They’re in different industries with different margins, to be sure, but the spin class chain is as good at wringing dollars from its customers as it is sweat.