10 Reasons Why In-N-Out Burger is a Business Success

The book In-N-Out Burger: A Behind-the-Counter Look at the Fast-Food Chain That Breaks All the Rules , is the story of the legendary California company and its sought-after burgers. In-N-Out burger fans will travel (in some cases) hundreds of miles for their burger fix. Why does In-N-Out Burger have such devoted customers, and what home-based business lessons can be gained from In-N-Out? Here are ten reasons, listed below:

  1. Well-paid employees. In-N-Out employees are paid more than other fast-food employees, given benefits, and extensive training. Employees aren't simply told (as employees are at most other companies) that they are "our company's best assets"; then paid pittances, forced to participate in indoctrinating pep rallies, and expected to be grateful for it.
  2. A very simple menu. Since In-N-Out's founding by Harry and Esther Snyder in 1948, the chain has maintained an extremely simple menu that focuses on its core products: burgers, fries, and drinks. No Asian Sesame Salads or Chipotle Chicken Wraps here.
  3. Regional mystique. Located only in California, Nevada, Arizona, and Utah - In-N-Out's lack of presence in the other 46 states and outside of the U.S. seems to enhance its iconic status, not detract from it.
  4. An awesome product. If what you sell is mediocre, the peripheral details don't matter.
  5. Location, location, location. Since its inception, In-N-Out has put stores near very busy freeway interchanges. This early years strategy put the chain in front of millions of busy but hungry California drivers looking for speed and quality. While the chain has since moved deeper into urban areas, it still craves high-traffic locations.
  6. Debt-free growth. In-N-Out maintained a policy of opening new stores in its earlier years only when they could be paid for without debt. This policy has been relaxed over the years, yet In-N-Out still refrains from overleveraging itself in the quest for expansion. A quest that has killed off less astute companies over the years.
  7. Privately held. There has never been a shortage of potential suitors willing to buy out the company or individuals seeking to purchase franchised locations. In-N-Out has steadfastly refused to take the company public or sell franchises - instead keeping a firm hand on every single store's operations.
  8. Fantastic service. The exchange between customer and cashier at any other fast-food joint is unremarkable. It's business as usual: place your order, then move on. At In-N-Out, the smiles you receive (you ALWAYS receive smiles) are genuine and impossible to ignore. In-N-Out employees are so genuinely pleased to deal with you that you'll feel slightly obnoxious if you don't feel as pleased dealing with them in return. It's refreshing.
  9. Lean marketing. In-N-Out uses well-placed freeway billboards, a rather spare television and radio budget in comparison to other chains, and a marketing message that changes so little that most Californians know the In-N-Out jingle by heart. It's always been hip to wear an In-N-Out t-shirt in places where the chain doesn't exist. Customers do most of the marketing, however, thanks largely to In-N-Out's...
  10. Iconic, cult-like status. All of the above points help to give In-N-Out the status that it enjoys from its devoted customers; a status that all other companies yearn for and spend millions of dollars to achieve. Customers aren't so much customers as they are fans. Unfortunately for those companies - it's a status that can't be purchased, and takes years to gain and maintain.

Please, dear In-N-Out: don't change a thing as you continue to grow! Signed, your fans. P.S.: the "crossed palms" in front of every In-N-Out store are an homage to founder Harry Snyder's fondness for the movie "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World"*. The members of the Snyder family, especially former company head Rich Snyder, who died tragically in a plane crash in 1993, are very religious - hence the references to biblical quotes on some In-N-Out packaging over the years. *From "In-N-Out Burger..." by Stacy Perman; p. 159.

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What's your favorite In-N-Out Burger experience? 12 comments

Dee aka Nonna profile image

Dee aka Nonna 4 years ago

A well run business for sure and one other business should look closely at. I lived in California for about 4 years, which is where I became acquianted with In-N-Out Burgers...Took me a while before I decided to try them but was glad I did. Voted up and useful.


bucktrak profile image

bucktrak 4 years ago from Midwest Author

Thanks, Dee - and as any Californian knows: once you try them, you're hooked!


WhydThatHappen 4 years ago

If you haven't had in n out ur missing out!


writeyourwrongs profile image

writeyourwrongs 4 years ago from Sheffield

You've made me hungry.


ib radmasters profile image

ib radmasters 4 years ago from Southern California

They are now in Dallas Texas.

They are bland and unimpressive, but good if you want to be healthy.

Five Guys is a far better burger, and it comes with all the trimmings gratis. They even have peanuts that you can snack on while you are there.


910chris profile image

910chris 4 years ago from North Carolina

After reading this Hub I want to go to Cali just to try one! I feel like I am missing out on something special. I might turn out to be one of those people who travel from the E.C. to the W.C. just to try it!


bucktrak profile image

bucktrak 4 years ago from Midwest Author

Didn't realize they were in Texas - lucky for those in the Lone Star State! Too bad, though...I think they should stay regional, but they might end up going national eventually.

I have tried Five Guys, but sorry - I disagree. In-N-Out is far superior (I think), but to each his/her own! Also, Five Guys is at least twice as expensive and a bit greasier. I know that both chains have their devotees.

910Chris: you guys in N.C. win for good BBQ. Cali can't compete in that category!


KathyH profile image

KathyH 4 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

We have them here in Las Vegas, I was hooked from the first time I tried them... we just ate there tonight! :) They are FANTASTIC!! Always fresh, and employees seem to genuinely enjoy their jobs, not like other fast food franchises! Great hub!


bucktrak profile image

bucktrak 4 years ago from Midwest Author

KathyH: there's an In-N-Out right off the strip - I think it's near NYNY - that I used to visit every trip I made to LV. It added one more great reason to visit Vegas!


TIMETRAVELER2 profile image

TIMETRAVELER2 4 years ago

I like this place but am not overly excited about their food, but that's just me. Nice hub, though.


bucktrak profile image

bucktrak 4 years ago from Midwest Author

Thanks, TT!


910chris profile image

910chris 4 years ago from North Carolina

Yea, I guess we do have pretty darn good BBQ. Still, to me nothing beats out a good ole 1/2 pound cheeseburger!! With curly fries and a sweet tea (gotta put something southern in there).

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