Why In-N-Out Burger won't expand to the East Coast
The fast-food chain, which is based on the West Coast, has slowly expanded eastward over its 70-year lifetime to Nevada, Arizona, Utah, and more recently to Houston, Texas. The company has also been holding "pop-up shops" around the world, where burgers tend to sell out within minutes.All signs seemingly point to a plan for expansion.Advertisement
But four major factors make it highly unlikely that East Coasters will get to experience the joy of an In-N-Out in their neighborhood anytime soon.
Here's why:1. Quality control: There are no freezers or microwaves in In-N-Out restaurants because the company has a strict policy of serving its food fresh. Therefore, all locations must be within 300 miles of the company's distribution facilities.
"At In-N-Out Burger, we make all of our hamburger patties ourselves and deliver them fresh to all of our restaurants with our own delivery vehicles," In-N-Out vice president of planning and development Carl Van Fleet told Business Insider in a previous interview. "Nothing is ever frozen. Our new restaurant locations are limited by the distance we can travel from our patty-making facilities and distribution centers."2. Exclusivity: Everything has more appeal when it's not available to everyone, and the exclusivity of In-N-Out has helped the restaurant gain such a rabid following of fans.In response to pleading from a local politician for an In-N-Out to open in Denver, Van Fleet made it clear the company was not planning to expand farther east.Advertisement
Since then, In-N-Out has expanded to Oregon - which is the chain's sixth state of operation.3. Competition: The East Coast has numerous burger joints that would offer tough competition for In-N-Out, including Shake Shack and Five Guys.Advertisement
4. No franchising: In-N-Out President Lynsi Snyder has said the company will "never" go public or franchise its restaurants.
"The only reason we would do that is for the money, and I wouldn't do it,"Snyder told CBS."My heart is totally connected to this company because of my family, and the fact that they are not here - I have a strong tie to keep this the way they would want it."Advertisement
A large-scale expansion without franchising would require a massive amount of up-front capital from the company.
"In-N-Out remains privately owned and the Snyder family has no plans to take the company public or franchise any units," the company reaffirms on its website.
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