With its May 2011 entry into Texas, In-N-Out is spreading the love like never before. The chain got its start in 1948 as southern California's very first drive-thru hamburger stand. Since then, it has built an incredible following of loyal fans throughout the country.
Every In-N-Out grand opening is met with tears of joy, media frenzy, and long lines of eager customers who can't wait for those doors to finally open. Those long lines can trail for blocks and usually start at least the night before the grand opening.
Just what is it that we love about this SoCal cultural icon?
- The fresh food. You'd be hard-pressed to find fresher fast food anywhere, as there are no microwaves or warming lamps in the restaurants. None! Burger patties are never frozen either.
- The simple menu: 3 burgers, 3 shakes, french fries, sodas. That's it. There are also 3 combos on the menu board: #1, #2, #3. Nothing complicated to make it difficult for first-timers to figure out and order.
- Speaking of shakes....we're talking real ice-cream shakes. Yum!
- Spread. That's what In-N-Out calls their "secret sauce." It's somewhere between a 1000 Island Dressing and a Russian Dressing. You get the Spread on all burgers and, if you want extra, they'll give you little packets, too.
- The restaurants are always clean and you can almost always see an employee working to keep it that way. The decor is white and red, with splashes of yellow. Lots of white. White that is kept clean and bright.
- Clean-cut employees. Nothing about any In-N-Out employee's appearance to make you nervous about the cleanliness of your food. Besides looking wholesome, these folks are always friendly and cheerful. And, they're busting their butts! The restaurants are busy most of the time, and the employees work hard and fast.
- Customer service is done right. They'll greet you. They'll thank you. They'll hand your kid stickers. They'll fix your burger the way you want - no problem.
- Bible verses printed discretely on all the paper products. Chapter and verse appear, but not the actual passage. Got to respect a company that adheres to its principals even in this PC age.
- The potato machine. Every In-N-Out has one and it's a busy machine! One potato at a time, they're making fresh french fries right on the spot. No matter how often you frequent the chain, it's always cool to watch the potato machine.
- Probably the number 1 thing that gives In-N-Out it's cult-like following is the Secret Menu. While the standard menu board is short and sweet, insiders know about menu variations that can be ordered without batting an eye. Animal Fries (french fries with cheese, spread and grilled onions), 2x4's (burgers with two meat patties and four slices of cheese), and Neapolitan shakes are just the start.
The In-N-Out chain stands out among fast food restaurants and has thousands of loyal followers across the country. As they expand into new regions, they'll continue to gain new fans who will love them, too.