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My father and I just rented a red Chrysler Sebring from the LAX airport in California. We were very hungry for we had been in an airplane for over 6 hours with nothing to eat but honey roasted peanuts. While exiting the airport we spotted a fast food restaurant that had a large sign printed in Mcdonald's colors that stated "In-n-Out" burger. It was around 1 pm and there was a massive line in the drive through but we were too hungry to search else where so we decided to park and go inside. The interior of the restaurant had a 1950's burger joint appeal to it with its checkered floor, framed pictures of 57 chevys and tiled walls. It had red booth and swivel stools for seating and red tiny palm tree wallpaper that bordered the walls. The line started all the way to the entrance. There were only 2 registers but we were able to get out order in within a couple minutes. The menu was very simple with only a hamburger, cheese burger, double cheese burger, and french fries to eat; and only a selection of sodas and milkshakes to drink. I decided to have a cheese burger with some fries which cost me a total of $3.90. It did not take us long to receive our food and we ate outside below a red and yellow patterned umbrella where I was about to eat the most delectable burger I had ever tasted. Everything about this burger was perfect, The bun was slightly toasted, the lettuce was fresh and crisp, the tomatoes were filled with flavor, and the cheese was melted perfectly over a juicy meat patty. The "special sauce" had a noticeable but not overwhelming tangy sweetness to it. The fries tasted like they had just been cut right before they put it in the frier, which they were. While traveling up the coast of California we stopped at other in-n-out locations along the way. Each of them were packed with customers and were always a pleasant experience. I wondered why this increasingly popular restaurant chain had not expanded further east or even globally.
The first In-N-Out Burger was founded by Harry and Esther Snyder in Baldwin Park, CA. Harry pondered the innovative idea of having the first drive through hamburger stand in California that communicated to its customers through a 2-way radio speaker.
This was around the same time that the Mcdonald's brothers were getting their start. In this era it was common to find "carhops" where people would come take your order and serve you food while you sat in your car, but they had yet to have any drive through
restaurants. So the idea caught on and the first In-n-Out burger was opened.
Their mission statement was simple, "Give customers the freshest, highest quality foods you can buy and provide them with friendly service in a sparkling clean environment." They still use this philosophy in every running In-N-Out open today. Quality, freshness, and good service were the core ingredient to In-N-Outs success. Harry and Esther's two sons, Guy and Rich, learned the business from working in their parents store when they were young. When Harry Snyder passed away in 1976, there were 18 drive-through
locations running. Rich Snyder, at age 24, took over as President. Guy Snyder helped him to establish a commissary at the Baldwin Park Headquarters. This new facility allowed In-N-Out to have total quality control (TQM) over all In-N-Out ingredients. They also started an In-N-Out "University", where new managers are trained and the In-N-Out philosophies for success is consistently reinforced. While Rich was President, In-N-Out grew from those 18 locations in 1976 to 93 locations at the time of his death in 1993. Guy Snyder then took over and became Chairman of the Board and CEO in 1993. As Chairman, H. Guy Snyder, led In-N-Out into the future with continued expansion throughout California, Nevada and Arizona. Guy carried on the same tradition that was set in 1948 by his parents, stressing the same basic values that helped make In-N-Out so successful. While Guy was Chairman of the Board, In-N-Out grew from 93 locations to 140 at the time of his death in 1999.
Esther is now President of In-N-Out and continues to maintain the burger legacy that was started in 1948. Though many changes have occurred in the fast food industry, little has changed at In-N-Out. The menu-burgers, fries and drinks are still the same simple menu from when it was first founded. Everything is still made fresh and they do not begin cooking your burger until you have placed an order. There is no use of microwaves or freezers. The french fries are made from hand-diced, fresh, whole potatoes, and the shakes from real ice cream. The original In-N-Out offered only a drive through or walk up service , but new In-N-Out Burger locations are found to offer both indoor and outdoor seating.