"In-N-Out"Burgers, A Must Stop, Must See, Must Taste!
Delicious (Fresh) Fast Food
This is not a paid advertisement, I promise! I have no affiliation with this private company that started out in the hamburger business in 1948. This restaurant is best known for its hamburgers, fresh hand-cut fries and milkshakes that are 100% real ice cream. Their focus is quality and service. What more could you ask for? So many fast food restaurants have poor service and poor quality. This chain, which is not franchised, is all about serving the customer. If your're within a quarter mile or so of one of these restaurants, you will smell the onions and the potatoes being fried, and your car's "homing beacon" will drive right into the In-N-Out parking lot.
In-N-Out's can be found in 4 states in the United States, California (original location, Baldwin Park CA), Nevada, Utah and Arizona. They have over 240 locations now and I don't know if they have plans to expand beyond the Western / Southwestern United States. If you are ever visiting one of these states, I would encourage you to stop in one of these hamburger joints and check it out. If you ever travel to Disneyland, this would make a great stop, even if you don't have kids!
What They Look Like
These restaurants are red and white with 2 crossed palms trees in the front. You can't miss them. They all look the same on the inside, in fact, when I'm travelling, I could swear I was eating in the same one I have in my home town! The employees all wear white clothing with red aprons. The men have pointed collars, the women rounded. Now how is that for some useless trivia! The men wear paper hats, the women have ball caps. You will see them tying their red aprons with a very large bobby pin. The clothes are furnished by the company and one only has to show up to work and don their work attire. The motif is like an old diner style restaurant with all the burgers being made as soon as you order them. They are not sitting under heat lamps like McDonald's and all the other miserable fast food joints.
This restaurant doesn't try to be "all things to all people" like some fast food chains. They focus on one thing, fresh hamburgers and fresh fries.
One can order the following:
#1 - Double-Double - two meat patties with two slices of cheese. Comes with a great spread (secret sauce, like Thousand Island), lettuce and tomatoes. The buns are grilled. You can ask for grilled onions or raw, whichever you prefer.
#2 - Cheeseburger - One hamburger, one slice of cheese. Same as above minus the extra patty and extra cheese.
#3 - Hamburger - One hamburger patty with no cheese. Comes with traditional spread, onions, lettuce and tomatoes.
Beverages: 7up, Coke, Diet Coke, Rootbeer, Pink Lemonade, Dr. Pepper,Iced Tea and Coffee
Milke Shakes: Vanilla, Chocolate and Straberry
That's it: hamburgers, fries, soda's and shakes. Keeping it simple!
Note: if you don't like the spread, you can order ketchup and mustard. Plain is always on option.
One of the best things about In-N-Out is the fact that they have a "secret menu". You can order things like the following which you will not see on the Menu in the restaurant:
"animal style" - burger is smothered in mustard and grilled. Additionally, pickles, cheese, spread and onion are all combined together and grilled right before they get put on your burger. You can't go wrong with this one.
"4x4" - 4 patties with 4 slices of American Cheese
"2x4" - 2 beef patties with 4 slices of cheese (you get the picture)
Note: you used to be able to order a "20x20" but the company only allows the "4x4" now.
"animal fries" - fries topped with same as concoction above under "animal style" - pickes, spread, cheese and onion grilled together and dumped on your fries. I have made a meal on this item alone.
"rootbeer float" - vanilla ice cream and rootbeer
"Neopolitan" - shake combines all three flavors, chocolate, vanilla and strawberry.
"Choco-Vanilla Swirl" - chocolate and vanilla shake combined
"protein-style" - has no bun but is wrapped with lettuce (see photo)
"fries well-done" - fries cooked longer that usual batch
"fries light" - fries cooked little under normal so they are not as crisp
"cheese fries" - fries with cheese on top
"extra toast" - buns toasted longer than normal
"grilled cheese" - cheeseburger without the burger
"veggie burger" - same as above without the cheese!
"cut in half" - burger cut in half
"flying dutchman" - 2 beef patties, 2 slices of cheese, that's it. You will see that printed out on your receipt even though it's not on the visible menu.
"double meat" - 2 beef patties with no cheese.
"spread" - you can ask for spread in packets.
"grilled onions" - chopped or whole, you decide.
"chopped chili's" - they have peppers and will chop them up and put on bottom of your burger.
"no salt" - they won't salt anything you don't want salted
They will do just about anything you want them to do with your food!
Note: If anyone knows more of the "secret menu", would love to have your input
The company has their own patty making facility right in Baldwin Park, Ca. This way the can control the quality of the hamburgers they sell. The burgers are 100% pure beef with no additives, fillers or preservatives. They use chuck beef and hand select and inspect every chuck that gets processed. They do not use freezers, heat lamps or microwaves. Everything is fresh.
The fries are prepared by hand and are special potataoes made for the company. I understand they are ordered from Idaho. The potatoes are hand washed, prepped and hand-cut using some type of hand press. You can watch these guys as they press down on multiple potatoes and they fall into a metal saucer to be place in the fryer. The oil is cottonseed oil and has no cholesterol.
The ice cream is 100% real ice cream and is delicious: vanilla, chocolate and strawberry.
The lettuce is hand washed and is prepared for the burgers.
The tomatoes are selectively picked and are delicious.
This company is one of the best run fast food companies in the Western United States. You can see the quality, ingenuity and training that goes into running such a great business. I have yet to run into an employee who is rude or discourteous. They seem to hire people and train them to handle the customers and produce quality food that keeps people coming back. They even have what they call "In-N-Out University" that helps train employees and managers to help serve the public. Their employees have a dress code with a high hygiene standard. No unshaven, unkempt employee will be working there long. Tatoos are not allowed to be exposed from what one of my sources tells me.
They have a non profit foundation that is dedicated to children who are victim's of child abuse. If you look on the bottom of one of their cups, you will see a bible verse. I'm not sure what the connection is but at some point of time in the past, someone was influenced by Christianity and shows in their high standards of company run excellence.
If you're ever travelling out west, please stop by one of these great hamburger eateries. You won't be disappointed.
Sources of information
Modesto Bee, Work and Money, Consumer/Personal Finance Section, January 2nd, 2011