13 Things You Didn't Know About In-N-Out Burger
While yes, there are a ton of things you DO know about In-N-Out (like Animal Style, or how there are Bible passages at the bottom of your cup, or how it's way better than Five Guys or Shake Shack), there are even more you DON'T. As proof, here are 13 things you didn't know about Southern California's burger holy land (with some help from Stacy Perman, author of In-N-Out Burger: A Behind-the-Counter Look at the Fast-Food Chain That Breaks All the Rules).
1. In-N-Out Burger was founded by Harry Snyder and his wife, Ester, in 1948
The original Baldwin Park location is credited with being the first-ever drive-thru restaurant (take that, McDonalds!). The couple couldn't afford the real estate necessary to have a parking lot for the carhops (which were standard in those days), so they went with the speaker-equipped drive-thru and a name that captured the easy in/out of using it.
2. Religion wasn't a part of the early life of the company
The Bible verses didn't come into play until the 1980s, when Snyder's son, Rich, a born-again Christian, took over the business, making things slightly awkward for hamburger-loving heathens. Making things all-the-way awkward, though? The radio spot that aired around that time, which equated eating In-N-Out with finding Jesus.
3. Managers working for In-N-Out make over $100k a year
They also have full dental and medical, and get bonuses like paid-for trips with their spouses.
4. They don't just sell T-shirts
At most In-N-Outs, you can get tees or free paper hats, but at both the original in Baldwin Park and their company store online, you can also get notepads, folding chairs, windbreakers, and even a woman's bikini (shockingly not available in plus-sizes).
5. Employees call the practice of passing by the ordering speaker and going right up to the booth a "home run"
Easy there, slugger.
6. The crossed trees are not actually religious (even though they're often mistaken for a cross), but are a reference to the old movie It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World
An homage to the founder's favorite film, they were planted out front by the his sons after he passed away. In the movie, treasure is found under four crossed palms. They settled for two.
7. The first non-California location opened in Nevada in 1992
Guaranteeing double-doubles for everyone getting anywhere near Las Vegas for forever after.
8. The iconic arrow was introduced in 1954
It was abetted by the not-very-catchy catchphrases "The arrow points to pride" and "We all work under the same arrow."
9. In-N-Out's current president is one of the world's youngest female billionaires
She's the granddaughter of the original founders, and lived for many years in secrecy -- mostly because she survived two kidnapping attempts when she was younger. She also went to a private school founded by her family, specifically to give her the education they believed she deserved.
10. You can order your burger medium rare
You thought you knew all the secret menu stuff? Think again.
11. None of the food travels more than 500 miles to any store
That's how they avoid freezers: they've got commissaries prepping the food ahead of time and transporting it, all internally, rather than dealing with an outside provider or company.
12. They've had a crapload of imitators... and defeated all of them in court (or more nefariously)
And by nefariously, we're referring to a place called Chadder's in Utah that used to serve burgers "Animal Style," until an In-N-Out opened around the corner from them. They closed shortly thereafter.
13. Their fries are actually great
Yep, even better than Five Guys' -- especially when you order them "well-done," which you totally already knew about too, right?
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Jeff Miller is the Senior City Editor for Thrillist Los Angeles, and is all about whole-grilled and fries well-done. Hit him at @thrillistla on Twitter or @jeffmillerla on Instagram.