[The following is an encore piece that was originally published on 19 December 2009]
If you’ve ever visted an In-N-Out Burger, then you know the place is always packed. In fact, the only time I haven’t seen the local INO at maximum capacity is at midnight during a weeknight. Not that I’m complaining about the crowds as I happen to be crazy about the food. In fact, INO is the only fast food that I consider worthy of putting into my system. The rest of the clowns peddling irradiated, feces-laden slop can take a hike because I heart INO.
For sure, INO should not be considered nutritious or fat-free by any stretch, but even with all the fat and calories, at least you’re not ingesting dung. The chain has been around since 1948, and, fresh beef and produce are still part and parcel of the biz. Were they still alive, the original Ma & Pa Snyder would be even prouder than they were back in the day. Just one bite of a delicious INO grilled bun and burger will make you a customer for life.
What’s not to like – The menu couldn’t be any more straightforward. You either want a hamburger or a cheeseburger. All you really have to decide is how much of it you would like to eat and what you want to wash it down with. As can be seen from the prices on the menu, you can eat like a king for five bucks at INO, versus the five bucks or better just for the sludge between a bun elsewhere.
I personally prefer a double-meat hamburger from the not so secret menu, but for those who want to pack more of a punch into their fast food attack, then I would suggest a cheeseburger and fries. For the calorie conscious, this selection results in about 790 calories. There are flashier burgers from other fast food joints with even more calories, but why bother. INO is the best tasting.
One observation I would like to make if I may. I’ve noticed that if you order your fat fix from the drive thru, then you’ll be sitting there for at least 25 minutes even with only 3 cars waiting. And you will continue to sit there even with an employee taking orders from each individual vehicle with his wireless clipboard. The personal service at your driver’s side window does not speed along the process; it is mainly for show.
Meanwhile, if you order your food inside the store, whether there are 3 or 30 customers standing online there, you will not only place your order, but will also be happily walking out with your food in approximately 12 minutes or less. And the same cars that were waiting when you walked in will still be in the same spot as when you walk out.
The occasions during which I’ve paid a visit (and there have been many) I’ve timed in-store ordering versus drive thru, and, if you don’t want to wait, then definitely avoid the drive thru. And don’t park in the parking lot either, since, even if you do manage to find an open spot, you won’t be able to get out very easily since you’ll be parked in by the traffic in the drive thru.
Compared to other fast food joints, customer service is outstanding at INO. You won’t get a barely understandable teenager, but a smiling employee who speaks English and whose happiness to be part of the INO team is clearly evident. But the chain really needs to work on the backlog in the drive thru. Notwithstanding quality, employees seem to move quicker for the customers in a crowded store than they do for the drive thru customers.
For fans wanting more information on the business, I highly recommend the book written by Perman, titled “A Behind the Counter Look.” It won’t reveal anything that hasn’t already been covered in business journals, but it’s a good read, nonetheless.
Makes you hungry for one of these.
Unfortunately for east coasters, however, INO is not available any further east than Arizona. Of course, there is no telling what’s in store for the privately owned So Cal business once Lynsi Martinez, the sole heiress to the INO fortune, takes over upon her thirtieth birthday. She may just cash out, and, through sheer greed alone, transform the sixty-one year old INO burger brand goodliness into an equally nasty and repulsive clone of other publicly traded fast food chains.
©2009 Peyton Farquhar™ and Prattle On, Boyo™. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Peyton Farquhar™ and Prattle On, Boyo™ with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.