In-N-Out Burger, the living testament to the art of the perfect cheap cheeseburger, only operates a few hundred stores in a handful of West Coast states–and the chain’s owner says the company will “never” go public.
“The only reason you would do that is for the money and I, I wouldn’t do it,” In-N-Out president Lynsi Snyder told CBS This Morning on Friday. “My heart is totally connected to this company because of my family and the fact they’re not here, you know. I have a strong tie to keep this the way they would want it.”
The legendary burger chain has been in the Snyder family since 1948, when Lynsi Snyder’s grandparents started one of the first (if not the first) drive-thru burger joint in California. According to CBS, the McDonald brothers were selling hamburgers just down the road, but while that company had plans to take over the world with its Big Macs, In-N-Out was content to stay close to its West Coast roots.
Today, In-N-Out operates 304 stores (McDonald’s operates more than 35,000) in just six Western states: California, Arizona, Utah, Texas, Oregon and Nevada. Each In-N-Out store must be located within 600 miles of the company’s three distribution centers, which ship fresh burgers out daily. The company boasts that it never freezes or otherwise re-heats its burger patties.
As a result, the burger chain’s “double-double” cheeseburger has become something of an icon of West Coast fast food culture.
Celebrities like Beyonce, Sam Smith, and Miley Cyrus have been photographed chowing down on double-doubles. Director Ang Lee was snapped holding a double-double in one hand and his Best Director Oscar in the other after his 2013 win for Life of Pi.
Bob Hope reportedly hired In-N-Out to cater his 92nd birthday party in 1995. Legendary chef Julia Child was supposedly a “die-hard fan” who carried a list of the restaurant’s locations around with her in her pocketbook.
“It’s about the quality, the friendliness and the cleanliness,” Snyder explains to CBS. “We keep it simple.”
And simple it is; the restaurant only serves cheeseburgers, fries and shakes, although vegetarians can score a grilled cheese sandwich (and the chain’s “not-so-secret menu” allows for the much-beloved “animal-style” option, which adds a mustard sear, pickles and grilled onions).
But while the food itself has taken on a mythical status in recent years, Snyder says the company thrives on its smaller-scale approach to slinging burgers.
“We back away from [media and interviews], because we don’t want to be in the spotlight, we don’t want a bunch of attention,” she told CBS. “And we want to do what we do best, and that’s serve some good burgers to our customers.”