IN-N-OUT finds success after humble beginnings

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IN-N-OUT finds success after humble beginnings

Julia Cheunkarndee, Features Editor

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Written by Julia Cheunkarndee

As one of the West Coast’s favorite burger chains, In-N-Out’s brand is easily recognizable: an angled yellow arrow and red graphics of swaying palm trees beyond calm ocean waves. Less well-known, however, is In-N-Out’s unique history, which is a tale contrary to that of most fast food chains.

In 1948, Harry Snyder founded In-N-Out with his wife Esther in a Los Angeles suburb. He was inspired by the short and straightforward menu of a steakhouse restaurant near his home and wanted to use the same simplistic methods for his own burger joint. Burger lovers who frequent In-N-Out can probably vouch for the impact of Snyder’s dream; the chain is famous for its minimalistic menu, with only three types of burgers—the hamburger, cheeseburger and double double—as well as fries and three flavors of milkshakes.

Snyder’s style of running a fast food chain contrasts sharply with traditional methods. While chains frequently update their menu over the years, In-N-Out’s has not changed since its establishment, providing the same options to its customers now as it did seventy years ago. However, customers in-the-know may have heard of In-N-Out’s “secret menu,” which has items that vary from the chain’s original menu and range from animal fries (which are cooked with mustard and come topped with cheese and grilled onions) to the protein-style burger (which is a beef patty wrapped in lettuce instead of buns).

In-N-Out also promotes its use of only fresh ingredients rather than frozen products that most fast food restaurants buy to cut their costs and production time. Slices of fries are crispy cut from potatoes, the burger patties are made from fresh beef and milkshakes use real dairy products. The same care goes into In-N-Out’s treatment of its employees, who are paid more than the usual fast food rate and have the lowest employee turnover rate in the industry.

In-N-Out remains in the Snyders’ ownership with CEO Lynsi Snyder, who is Harry and Esther’s granddaughter, at the helm. The couple’s small burger joint in Los Angeles has expanded to 334 restaurants in six states. The growing popularity of In-N-Out can be attributed to the heart and care that is put into the food—a standard of quality that customers can taste.