In-N-Out Burger

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Template:Infobox Company In-N-Out Burger is a privately owned & operated hamburger fast food restaurant chain in the Western United States. As of 2006, the only states that have In-N-Out restaurants are California, Arizona, and Nevada. Established in 1948, the chain has developed a die-hard customer base by maintaining a simple menu of high-quality hamburgers and french fries made to order with fresh ingredients. It is one of the few fast-food chains in the United States to pay its employees significantly more than federal and state mandated minimum wages.

Its corporate headquarters is located in Irvine, California, USA.



Image:In-N-Out drink with palm trees.JPG In-N-Out's first location was opened on October 22, 1948 by Harry and Esther Snyder at the northwest corner of what is now the intersection of the San Bernardino Freeway, Interstate 10 (I-10) and Francisquito Avenue in the Los Angeles suburb of Baldwin Park, California.

In 1984, at the southwest corner of the same intersection, the company established "In-N-Out University", for the purpose of training its management-level employees in a 'real world' setting. As the university was a full-service restaurant, its operations were similar to that of any other In-N-Out restaurant and to the casual observer it was like any of the others except for its larger size (floor area). In 2004 the university was torn down and in its place a new restaurant with a 75-seat indoor dining area was constructed. After its completion, the original location was closed; the original kitchen is planned to be preserved as part of an upcoming In-N-Out Museum.

Until the 1990s the company had locations only in Southern California. In 1992, In-N-Out opened its first non-Southern California restaurants in Las Vegas (one at Sahara Avenue west of Interstate 15, and the other at Charleston Boulevard and Nellis Boulevard). They also began with expansion into Northern California and opened additional Las Vegas-area restaurants and by 2000, had opened locations in Arizona. Additional Nevada restaurants in Reno, Sparks, and Carson City were opened in 2005. The company is planning expansion into southwestern Utah.

On December 15 1993, In-N-Out's president, Rich Snyder, son of the founders, and four other passengers died in a plane crash on approach to John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana, California. Snyder was aboard a charter plane (Israel Aircraft Industries 1124A with tail number N309CK). The charter aircraft followed in a Boeing 757 for landing, became caught in its wake turbulence, rolled into a deep descent and crashed near the intersection of California State Route 55 and Edinger Avenue. The crash investigation led to the FAA requiring an adequate period of time for small aircraft that are following heavy aircraft in order to allow the wake turbulance to dissipate. As a result of this crash, Rich's brother, Guy, took over the presidential seat.

In 1999, Guy died of a painkiller overdose. Esther, the matriarch of the founding family, is currently holding presidency with the company.

Due to relatively few locations (compared to other fast food chains), a business model where the food is made to order, and the higher quality of food, the drive-thru and in-store lines can be long: On some occasions one can wait up to 15 minutes to receive an order.

Locations are open from 10:30 AM until 1 AM, Sunday thru Thursday, and 1:30AM Friday and Saturday. (A handful of locations have earlier closing times.) However, it is commonly known that In-N-Out will open earlier or close later if there is still demand for their food. Template:Citation needed

In December 2005, the 200th store was opened in Temecula, California.

All locations are company-owned. The privately owned corporation does not currently plan to franchise or to take the company public.

Recent turbulence

On January 5 2006 a lawsuit exposed a family feud over the chain's corporate leadership. Richard Boyd, In-N-Out's vice president and co-trustee of two-thirds of the company stock, accused heir Lynsi Martinez and allied corporate executives of trying to force out company president and matriarch, Esther L. Snyder and attempting to fire Boyd unreasonably. LA Times 1/7/2006. Pre-empting the suit, Martinez and Snyder appeared in a special December video message to employees with Mark Taylor (Martinez's brother-in-law) telling employees not to believe everything they hear.

On January 12, 2006, Boyd faced a lawsuit of his own. In-N-Out sued Boyd, alleging he had construction work done on his property and charged it to the company, as well as favoring contractors with uncompetitive bids.

On March 14, 2006, Boyd returned fire with a defamation lawsuit against accounting firm Grant Thornton and GT employee Lawrence A. Rosipalja over alleged intimidating and misleading statements made to In-N-Out employees about the corporate dispute.

On March 31, 2006, a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge temporarily suspended Boyd from his role as co-trustee of 65% of the company stock while deciding if it should be made permanent. Northern Trust Bank of California takes Boyd's place as co-trustee until a hearing on May 10, 2006.

On April 5, 2006, the judge dismissed two of In-N-Out's claims against Boyd. A trial date of October 17, 2006 was set.

Menu items

One reason In-N-Out has not expanded far outside Southern California is that none of their food is ever frozen. Restaurants receive weekly shipments from several warehouses. The delivery trucks are only able to travel a limited distance from In-N-Out's meat-packing plant, where the company does its own boning, grinding, and pattying of fresh beef chuck. This commitment to "freshness" has limited the restaurant's expansion to only Northern California, Nevada, and Arizona.


In-N-Out focuses on providing a basic menu that has remained unchanged since the restaurant was established in 1948. The simple menu consists of the following:

Ordering an In-N-Out Burger

Despite the apparent simplicity of the menu, burgers can be customized in a variety of ways.

All burgers consist of one or more 1/8 lb. beef patties cooked to "medium", and served on a lightly toasted sponge-dough bun. Cheeseburgers and Double-Doubles also feature one or two slices of American cheese, respectively. The default style of burger includes a spread similar to Thousand Island dressing; tomato; and a portion of lettuce. In addition, customers will always be asked if they want to add onions(fresh or grilled). Although not included on the stock burger, In-N-Out can add pickles to the burger, or mustard and/or ketchup instead of the spread.

All ingredients, as well as the toasting of the bun, may be specified as light or extra.

The "Secret" menu

There are also "secret" item specials, variations of the basic menu that are not listed on the menus in the stores, nor advertised. These variations are detailed on the company's web site for all to see, but are usually spread through word-of-mouth by In-N-Out aficionados. Some items on the "secret" menu have a slightly different price due to the addition or removal of ingredients. Each additional hamburger patty costs 65 cents.


Four meat patties and four slices of cheese.
Two meat patties and four slices of cheese.
Note: A customer can ask for any combination of meat patties and cheese slices, as above.
Triple Meat 
Three meat patties without cheese.
Animal Style 
The meat is fried in mustard served on a bun with pickles, lettuce, tomatoes, extra spread and grilled onions.
Animal Style Fries 
Fries with cheese, spread, and grilled onions.
Double Meat 
Double Double without cheese.
Flying Dutchman 
Two meat patties, two slices of melted cheese and that's it. No bun, no lettuce, nothing.
Fries "Light" 
Almost raw fries.
Fries "Well" 
Extra crispy fries. Some call this... Fries "Well-Done", but the preferable term drops the "-Done".
Grilled Cheese 
No meat, just two slices of melted cheese, tomato, lettuce and spread on a bun.
Neopolitan Shake 
All three shake flavors (strawberry, vanilla and chocolate) combined in one shake.
Protein Style 
Instead of a bun, the burger is wrapped in lettuce (Atkins approved). And yes, you can get a Grilled Cheese Protein Style!
Wish Burger, Veggie Burger 
A burger without the meat and cheese. The terms are interchangeable.


Image:P3250005.JPG The bulk of the secret menu revolves around the burgers. Animal Style is the most popular "secret" style. In addition to the standard toppings, Animal Style burgers include pickles, extra spread, grilled onions, and mustard fried onto each meat patty. 3×3, 4×4, or variations of m × c, refers to a burger with a varied amount of meat patties (first number, m) and slices of cheese (second number, c). For example, a burger with six meat patties and three slices of cheese would be a 6×3.

It is possible to order a burger with no meat (a Grilled Cheese) or no cheese (such as a Double Meat or Triple Meat). Unlike some restaurants which use a vegetable patty, at In-N-Out, a Veggie Burger is a sandwich containing only vegetables, and no meat or cheese.

In-N-Out has two ways of providing a burger with no bun, which are popular among Atkins dieters and no/low carbohydrate eaters. Protein Style, or a Protein Burger, replaces the hamburger bun with large leaves of lettuce, creating a lettuce wrap burger. The Flying Dutchman is simply two meat patties and two slices of cheese; it includes no bun, vegetables, or spread. For eat-in orders, the bottom patty is placed on top of a burger wrapper, alternating meat, cheese, meat, cheese. For to-go orders, the Dutchman is arranged meat, cheese, cheese, meat, and placed inside of the wrapper.

Chopped Chilies adds mild (pickled) chopped peppers to the bottom layer of the burger. In addition, sides of chilies are available upon request.

Onion styles

Onions may be present on the burger in many different forms. Regular Onions is what a customer receives by default, if they want onions. This refers to one full slice of onions that is not cooked, but rather placed on top of the center patty or cheese slice while the meat is still on the grill, giving the onion time to warm and soften its flavor. Raw Onions are not warmed at all, and instead placed between the spread on the bottom bun and the tomato, keeping them cold. These can also be ordered as Chopped Raw Onions. Grilled Onions indicates chopped, grilled onions placed in the same location as 'regular onions'. Whole Grilled Onions consists of a whole slice of onion placed on the grill and cooked until it is soft.

French fries

Image:AnimalFriesAndShake.jpg Depending on the season, In-N-Out uses Kennebec or Russet potatoes and slices every individual potato by hand shortly before it enters the fryer. Standard fries are cooked four to six minutes (or until "golden brown") in cottonseed oil. A salt and pepper mixture is added after the fries are cooked, although ordering a No-Salt Fry will omit this. Fries Well-Done are cooked for a longer period, making them crispier. Fries Light are fries that have been cooked for a shorter period, making them softer. Fries Lightly Well are cooked longer than standard fries, so they are more crispy but not as long as fries well-done, which often leaves them rock hard and full of oil. Although not typical, a customer can order a fry cooked for a time they specify, such as 30 seconds (e.g. a 30-second fry). Animal [Style] Fries are topped with two slices of cheese, spread, and grilled onions, and are served with a fork. Cheese Fries adds 2 slices of melted cheese on top of the fries, although you can specify exactly how many slices you would prefer.


Rather than ordering a single flavor shake, a Neapolitan Shake is a mixture of chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry shake. A Choco-Vanilla Swirl Shake or any other combination of two flavors can be made. Root beer floats are part vanilla shake and part root beer, although any combination of shake and drink can be ordered. Large and Extra Large shakes are also available. The cup sizes for these shakes are one below those of soft drinks, i.e., a Large Shake is a Medium Soft Drink cup, while an Extra Large Shake is a Large Soft Drink. There is no small size shake, just the standard 14oz. shake cup.

Fountain drinks can also be ordered mixed together. For example, Lemon-Up is a mixture of lemonade and 7 Up, and Tea-ade, a.k.a. an Arnold Palmer, is a mixture of iced tea and lemonade. A Fonz is a mixture of lemonade and water, or watered-down lemonade. Another popular mixture possibility is Dr. Pepper mixed with Root Beer to create: "Dr. Rootbeer" a.k.a. "Pepperbeer".

Store layout

Many In-N-Out stores are based on one of a set of templates or "cookie-cutter" blueprints (chosen based on available space and expected traffic levels) that have changed over the years. Other stores are designed to be unique to fit into the surrounding architecture, or to stand out. Notable "unique" In-N-Out locations include the store on Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco and the restaurant in Westwood in Los Angeles. The typical location's interior layout includes the following:

  • customer service counter with several computers and registers


  • indoor dining room (benches and fixed chairs)
  • kitchen (called the stand)
  • food preparation area (where the tomatoes, onions, etc. are prepared)
  • storage areas for the paper goods (napkins, bags, etc.)
  • storage areas for the "dry" food goods (potatoes, buns, etc.)
  • walk-in refrigerator (no freezers) for the perishable goods (meat patties, lettuce, etc.)
  • mechanical/electrical rooms
  • restrooms
  • employee locker rooms.

The exterior layout includes the following:

  • one or two drive-through lanes with corresponding service windows
  • outdoor dining area (tables and benches, and overhead canopies)

Variations of this layout exist depending on the age of the restaurant, physical lot size constraints, and the restaurant's relationship to neighboring structures or its proximity to the street. For example, many older restaurant designs are solely a drive-through/walk-up layout with a "two-box" design (i.e. the kitchen was separated from the remainder of the restaurant by one of the drive-through lanes). This layout is typically comprised of two vehicle lanes (i.e., drive-thrus), a single window that customers can "walk-up" to and order, and outdoor seating (only). As noted above, one drive-through lane is on the side of the kitchen closest to the street (referred to as the "front" lane) and the other lane is on the other side (referred to as the "rear" lane). Indoor dining at these restaurants is not available. Because of its size, the kitchen is limited to a single customer service register, one cooktop grill, a countertop, two sets of fryers (for the french fries) with two fry baskets each, one set of soda and shake dispensers, a sink, and a "spinner" that is used to centrifugally remove excess water from the freshly diced potatoes.

As a result of a larger restaurant site, newer restaurants now include an indoor dining area in addition to the outdoor dining area. Conversely, because of the greater ability to serve 'dine-in' customers, these stores will have only one drive-through lane. Because the kitchen is larger, there are generally multiple registers, two or three grills, larger countertops, multiple fryers, etc. Depending on the location, and particularly if it is in a heavily developed or densely built area, a few locations with indoor dining areas will not have drive-thrus.

The In-N-Out located in Barstow, California, is fitted with four grills and ten fryers, an amusement-park style line, and cavernous dining room. The majority of this location's business is a result of those traveling to and from Southern California and Las Vegas on Interstate 15, putting Barstow in the middle of a long drive. It is not uncommon for the restaurant to be incredibly busy during the day; the announced order numbers will cycle past 100 between joining the line and finishing your meal.

The signature colors for In-N-Out are white, red, and yellow. The white is used for the buildings' exterior walls and the employees' (associates') basic uniform, red is used for the buildings' roofs and associates' aprons/hats, and yellow is used for the decorative band on the roof. Naturally, variations in the application of the colors on the building will occur depending on the architecture of each restaurant.

Corporate culture

In-N-Out is one of the very few fast-food chains in the United States to pay its associates significantly more than the Federally mandated minimum wage of $5.15/hour and California's minimum wage of $6.75/hour — currently starting pay is a minimum of $9.00/hour. For its full-time associates, the company offers complete benefits, almost unheard of in the rest of the industry. In addition, 'fringe' benefits available to all associates include an annual company picnic, gifts at Christmas, the opportunity to participate in a variety of other company-sponsored activities, as well as paid holidays and paid vacations. On average, each of its 200+ store managers earns just under $100,000 annually, and have been with the company for 13 years. All of the restaurants are closed on Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Easter. Furthermore, In-N-Out is highly selective in the hiring process of its associates. As a result of these factors, In-N-Out enjoys lower employee turnover, better-trained associates and higher efficiency. It is one of the few chains to receive a positive mention in the book Fast Food Nation.

The company operates on the principle that its customers, like its associates, are important as exemplified by the following In-N-Out "golden rules":

  • Rule #1 - The customer is always right; and
  • Rule #2 - If, by chance, the customer makes a mistake, refer back to Rule #1.

In-N-Out is active in the communities it serves. Every year the company provides free burgers to participants marching in the Rose Parade, provides cans for donations, matches customer donations 3-to-1 in April for National Child Abuse Prevention month, and underwrites various fundraisers to support local charities and non-profit organizations.


In-N-Out generally relies on positive 'word-of-mouth' for its advertising. Television advertisements are sporadic; for the most part, when the ads appear, the hamburger, or product, is the focus of the commercial - In-N-Out rarely, if ever, relies on spokespersons or actors for its commercials. Radio advertisements are equally rare and are generally limited to the characteristic jingle: "In-N-Out, In-N-Out. That's what a hamburger's all about." However, in the past, the Snyders have sponsored Christmas music programming and given voiceovers expressing the meaning of the holiday. In addition to the jingle, there are several In-N-Out slogans including: "Quality You Can Taste" and "Cleanliness You Can See".

The company also makes popular bumper stickers that are ubiquitous in Southern California. However, instead of reading "IN-N-OUT BURGER", many have been modified to read "IN-N-OUT URGE" by cutting off the end letters of the "B" and "R". New stickers given out by In-N-Out stores now simply read "IN-N-OUT" to preclude such modification.


In-N-Out has several trademarked/service marks registered with the US Patent and Trade Office including:

  • That's What a Hamburger's All About
  • Quality You Can Taste
  • Freshness You Can Taste
  • Fresh! Every Step of the Way
  • The Best Enterprise Is a Free Enterprise
  • Double-Double
  • INO
  • Burger Television
  • Quad-Quad
  • Five by Five
  • Entre-Y-Salga, Entrada-Y-Salida [Spanish language versions of "In-N-Out"]
  • 3 X 3
  • 4 X 4
  • Protein Style
  • Animal Style

In-N-Out Burger in popular culture

Cult following

The burger chain has developed a cult following, primarily because of its reputation for adhering to the notions that fast food should be made from scratch and that the whims of the customer should be entertained. [1] A favorite among celebrities, Vanity Fair has even served In-N-Out burgers at its post-Oscars parties. [2] Angelina Jolie, for example, confessed that she left the 2003 Academy Awards ceremony early, dressed in her glamorous outfit, and stopped off at an In-N-Out on the way home.[3] Actor Tom Cruise is also known to be a big In-N-Out fan to the point where most of his films will often have the company's van providing unofficial crafts services.

The chain has also become an anti-corporate alternative to fast food restaurants such as McDonald's (which was founded eight years before In-N-Out in nearby San Bernardino). When the location at San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf opened, local business leaders said that they opposed every other fast food chain except In-N-Out because they wanted to maintain the flavor of family owned, decades-old businesses in the area. [4]

Even the opening of a new In-N-Out location becomes an event. When one opened in Scottsdale, Arizona, there was a four-hour wait for food, and news helicopters whirled above the parking lot. [5]

Movie/TV show references

  • In The Big Lebowski: In-N-Out Burger is referenced in several scenes. Most memorably, with Walter, The Dude and Donnie eating In-N-Out in Dude's car with the windshield busted out.
  • The television series, CSI.
  • Entourage: In the fifth episode of the first season of the HBO series Entourage, Johnny and Turtle are eating In-N-Out while waiting outside a restaurant. Johnny offers a bite of his burger to his brother's vegan girlfriend.
  • The O.C.: At various points in different seasons, the characters are shown having food from In-N-Out. Although this is never explicitly mentioned, the design of the cups and wrappers and the show's Southern California setting make this an obvious fact.
  • Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County: In various episodes, the cast of Laguna Beach are seen eating In-N-Out.
  • Gone in Sixty Seconds: In Otto's garage.
  • Swingers: Mike's T-shirt while secluded in apartment.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: In Episode 4.20, entitled "The Yoko Factor", the character of Anya Jenkins can be seen holding and drinking from an In-N-Out soda cup in some of the scenes.
  • South of Nowhere: Clay and Sean are down at the beach and Sean is holding an In-N-Out soda cup.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: The episode "Pickles" a character named Bubble Bass orders a Custom Krabby Patty and uses "4x4" and "Animal Style" in his order.
  • Bowling for Columbine: In Michael Moore's Oscar winning documentary, he ate at the In-N-Out in Westwood, California with the creator of South Park.
  • Drake & Josh: In "Driver's License", during Drake's driving test, he and his instructor stop for a bite at "Inside-Out Burger."
  • Fletch Lives: The sequel to Fletch. Fletch, while flirting with a character named Betty asks her "Hey Betty, how about lunch at the In-N-Out Burger."
  • That 70's Show: An episode where Red is put on a diet, he sneaks an bite from an In-N-Out style boxed and wrapped cheeseburger.


  • In-N-Out offers a cookout trailer that can be hired for private or corporate events. This trailer offers hamburgers, cheeseburgers, double-doubles, grilled cheese, 20 oz. fountain drinks, and potato chips (instead of fries) to hungry patrons.
  • Prior to converting to computerized cash registers, the orders were taken on color-coded notepads (green for the front drive-through window, pink for the rear drive-through window, and white for the walk-up window)

Image:Palms trees in 'x'.JPG

  • Founder Harry Snyder's favorite movie was Stanley Kramer's It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World in which individuals look for a hidden treasure and find it under the crossed palm trees — "under the W", where the middle two of four palms formed an 'X', which is why many stores have crossing palm trees in front, and some have two.
  • During periods when the drive-through line is really long, an associate is sent to personally take orders from the cars waiting to be served. Today, these employees enter the orders on a PDA-like device, called the Handheld.
  • In-N-Out stickers are available on request as well as paper hats.
  • After accepting only cash in its many years in business, In-N-Out began accepting Visa and MasterCard for payment on September 15 2005, beginning at the University of California, Irvine location. In-N-Out does not currently accept American Express.

Bible quotes


In-N-Out prints discreet references to Bible verses on their paper utensils. The print is small and out of the way, and only contains the book, chapter and verse numbers (e.g., "Proverbs 3:5"), not the actual text of the passages. The Snyders are a religious Christian family, and most likely these particular Bible verses have special meaning for them.

  • Burger and cheeseburger wrappers
    • Revelation 3:20—"Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me."
  • Beverage cups and antenna toppers
    • John 3:16—"For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life."
  • Milkshake cups
    • Proverbs 3:5—"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding."
  • Double-Double wrapper
    • Nahum 1:7—"The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; He knows those who take refuge in Him."
  • Paper water cups, or "R-9's"
    • John 14:6 —"Jesus answered, 'I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.'"



  • The main criticisms that people have of In-N-Out burger are the lack of an expansive menu.
  • Others criticize the french fries, either complaining that they don't have enough salt, or that they don't taste right.
    • For the former case, the restaurant offers salt (and the associates will add extra salt to the fries), and most also don't realize that the flavor is a side effect of the fries being cut fresh from the potato.
  • Also, some feel that the restaurant takes too long to prepare food, this could be because the food is made on the spot.
  • Others are uncomfortable with the bible verses in the food, although these are hard to notice without attempting to find them.

Other In-N-Out Burgers

There is a drive-thru restaurant in Gainesville, Florida named "In-N-Out Burger" that is not affiliated with the In-N-Out Burger chain.


External links