If you’re craving for a simple cheeseburger or you prefer to be served with an extra special burger, you can’t deny that In-N-Out Burger is one of the best burger restaurants that can give you an authentic and good old-fashioned American experience. In fact, it is a favorite restaurant of some world famous celebrities and even respected chefs.
In-N-Out Burger was founded by Harry Snyder and Esther Snyder in Baldwin Park, California in 1948. It is a local chain of restaurants in America that are mostly located in the American Southwest and Pacific Coast. In the present time, it has slowly expanded into the rest of California and also in Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Texas, and Oregon. The chain is currently owned by Lynsi Snyder who is the only grandchild of the Snyders.
In-N-Out Burger is indeed one of the very successful chains of burger restaurants. But have you ever wondered how it started? If you want to know the story behind its success, read on about the history of In-N-Out Burger.
In-N-Out Burger’s First Generation
In-N-Out Burger’s very first location was opened in Los Angeles, suburb of Baldwin Park, California in 1948 by the Snyders. Before it became a restaurant, it started as a drive-thru hamburger stand in California. The stand allowed drivers to place their orders via a two-way speaker system.
After three years, a second In-N-Out Burger was opened in Covina, California, west of the intersection of Grand Avenue and Arrow Highway. It remained a small southern California chain until the 1970’s. The first restaurants were managed closely by the Snyders to ensure good quality. When Harry Snyder died in 1976, the chain had 18 restaurants.
In-N-Out Burger’s Second Generation
After Harry Snyder’s death, his 24-year-old son, Rich Snyder, became the company president in 1976. Together with his brother, Guy, he began working in his father’s In-N-Out restaurants at a young age. After 20 years of his leadership, the chain had grown, expanding to 93 restaurants.
In 1990, In-N-Out Burger’s first location outside of the Los Angeles area was opened. It was also the 61st location in the chain. Then in 1992, it opened its first non-Southern California restaurant in Las Vegas, Nevada. The following year, the chain expanded to Northern California and it opened its first restaurant there in Modesto. The chain’s expansion continued in Northern California, including the San Francisco Bay Area. There were also additional restaurants that were built in Las Vegas.
Unfortunately, after In-N-Out Burger opened its 93rd store in Fresno, California, Rich Snyder and four other passengers died in a plane crash going to Orange County, California on December 15, 1993. The charter aircraft they were on was following a Boeing 757. It became caught in its wake turbulence and it crashed.
Upon Rich Snyder’s death, Guy Snyder assumed the presidency of the restaurant chain. He was the president of the company for six years where he was able to continue its expansion from 83 to 140 locations. However, in 1999, Guy Snyder died from an overdose of painkillers. His mother, Esther, then took over the restaurant’s presidency.
In-N-Out Burger in the 21st Century
In the year 2000, new locations of In-N-Out Burger were opened in Arizona, and in 2004, it added new restaurants in Reno, Sparks, and Carson City, Nevada where it became a huge success. It also opened its first restaurant in Tucson, Arizona in 2007. The opening of this store had broken company records for the most burgers sold in a day and the most sold in a week.
While the company continued to grow, it struggled to maintain its family roots. In 2006, Esther Snyder died at the age of 86. The presidency of the company was then passed to Mark Taylor who was the former vice president of operations. He was the fifth president and the first non-family member to hold the position. The current heiress of the company is Lynsi Snyder, daughter of Guy, and the only grandchild of the Snyders. In 2012, she gained 50% control of the company when she turned 30. And in May 2017, she nearly has the full control at the age of 35.
In-N-Out Burger expanded into its fourth state in 2008 but opening a location in Washington, Utah, and in the suburb of St. George. Then, it continued to expand into northern Utah in late 2009, with three new locations placed in Draper, American Fork, and Orem.
There were more locations that opened when 2010 came which are in West Valley City, West Jordan, Centerville, and Riverton. Lynsi Snyder has also assumed the presidency in the same year after participating in various roles in the company, becoming the sixth president.
On May 11, 2011, In-N-Out Burger expanded into Texas where it opened its first two locations in Frisco and Allen. In December 2013, the chain opened another location in Austin. All in all, there are 21 restaurant locations in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and 4 in Austin area. Due to the number of these locations in Texas, the company was required to build a new patty production facility and distribution center in the state.
In the fall of 2014, In-N-Out Burger opened its 22nd Texas location in Killeen. Then on November 20, 2014, the chain opened its first location in San Antonio, and it was followed by its first location in Waco in a year later.
In-N-Out Burger opened its 300th restaurant in Anaheim, California in January 2015. During that opening, the chain had generated $558 million in annual sales and currently has about 18,000 employees in California, Nevada, Utah, Texas, and Arizona.
On September 9, 2015, which is Harry Snyder’s birthday, the chain opened its first location in Oregon. During that opening, Lynsi Snyder announced that more expansion will continue in the following years.
On November 30, 2017, In-N-Out Burger announced plans to build a production facility and distribution center in Colorado Springs. That was ahead of an expansion into Colorado, which is scheduled to be completed in 2021.
With the success of the business, Lynsi is presently known as the youngest American female billionaire. And just like her immediate ancestors who formerly controlled the company, she doesn’t have any plans to franchise the brand.
In-N-Out Burger is a restaurant chain that had successfully grown while adhering to its family roots and simple goals which is to provide fresh and high-quality foods, as well as best service to their customers. It is one of those restaurants that did not sacrificed the quality of their products and services just to expand and grow rapidly.