Friday, February 20, 2009

In-N-Out Burgers Over the Years and Years

Photos from In-N-Out Burger

It all began in Southern California in 1948 with one drive-thru hamburger stand where customers could order through a two-way speaker instead of with car hops that were popular at that time. From the original In-N-Out Burger in Baldwin Park, over sixty years ago, there are now more than 200 stores, and have spread to Northern California, parts of Nevada and Arizona, and it is still the best hamburger, fresh french fries, and shakes to be found.

And I have been eating them for ehh gads…since the opening of that first In-N-Out. In those days our family, Daddy, Mama, Nancy and I, and often Paisano, our dog, would go to In-N-Out about every other Sunday or so, on the Sundays we were having a pot roast (our usual Sunday dinner). Sometimes we would top it off with an ice cream cone from Frosty Freeze. Paisano really liked his cone.

This family owned business was started by Harry and Esther Snyder. Three years later a second store was opened. Their two sons, Guy and Richard learned the family business early on. When Mr. Snyder died in 1976, there were 18 stores.

From their website: Following Mr. Snyder’s death, son “Rich took over as President at the age of 24, and with Guy's help, established a commissary at the Baldwin Park Headquarters. This new facility allowed In-N-Out to have total quality control over all In-N-Out ingredients. In addition, they created the In-N-Out "University", where new managers are trained and the In-N-Out formula for success is consistently reinforced.” The company has also been known to pay their employees a very nice starting pay.

While Richard was President, In-N-Out grew from those 18 locations in 1976 to 93 locations at the time of his death in 1993 in a plane crash, along with four other passengers on approach to John Wayne Airport in Orange County, CA. At that time, Guy Snyder became Chairman of the Board and CEO and soon a store was opened out of the Southern California area in Las Vegas, NV, and continued expansion throughout California, Nevada and Arizona. While Guy was Chairman of the Board, In-N-Out grew from 93 locations to 140 at the time of his death in 1999. Co-founder, Esther Snyder continued as President until her death in 2006. At that time, Vice President Mark Taylor (an extended family member) took over. Guy Snyder’s daughter Lynsi, only grandchild of founders Mr. & Mrs. Synder, is owner and heiress.

Their family business philosophy has always been, “Give customers the freshest, highest quality foods you can buy and provide them with friendly service in a sparkling clean environment.” And they have succeeded . Quality is as fine today as it was 60 years ago and as it always has been.

A book is coming out in April about the company by journalist and business writer, Stacy Perman: In-N-Out: A Behind the Counter Look at the Fast Food Chain that Breaks All the Rules. It should be an interesting book on the success of a family-owned business, done without franchising, going public, or changing its menu, and continuing to serve fresh product.

I almost always order the cheeseburger with grilled onions, and fries. Our family always laughs at the times when we’ve been away from In-N-Out and after retuning, the first stop after landing at the airport is In-N-Out. One of our extended family rode his bicycle 135 miles over the mountains from Carson City, Nevada to Auburn, CA for the opening of the Auburn In-N-Out to be first in line for his hamburger. That’s how crazy some of us are for these hamburgers.

And I have a store four miles from me now.



John Hayes said...

I love stories about old-time eating establishments-- nicely done.

Ricky Kendall said...

Delicious! I love In-N-Out Burgers also. I didn't know they had been around for so long. Great article.

Linda Pendleton said...

Thanks, John, glad you enjoyed the article. It is nice to see such a success story...

Ricky, I believe you have several In-N-Outs close by now. Yes, it has been a long time....