In N Out - is it all that a hamburger is all about?
Burger wars are legit - find out why I feel that In N Out is the best burger chain out there!
Intro to In N Out
Back in high school, a friend worked at the Torrance, CA location and it being our senior year, found ourselves driving from the Inglewood area for a frequent lunch. Don't ask how we were able to drive out to Torrance, have lunch, and back in a decent amount of time. Even though the statute of limitation is over by now. As we kept on going, I slowly became a fan of the burgers based on how the employees interacted with customers and how tasty the burgers were.
In N Out to the next level
Around 1993, I signed up with my first internet provider (14.4k for life!) and they offered 1MB of web space for a web site. It took a few hours of brainstorming to decide that an Unofficial In N Out Burger website was needed. The current corporate web site at that time was fairly plain, so I took it as a challenge to learn HTML.
Very quickly my site was visited by many customers, and they would "complain" to Customer Service that their website store locator was missing some locations, when it fact it was my website and my slow updates as I relied on the frequently updated pocket guides listing all locations, or when Customer Service would send to me a list of the new/upcoming stores.
I met the CTO for In N Out in the early 2000's and was given the OK to continue with the web site and I expanded it a bit. Over time, they introduced their own website and asked if I could take down my site. A tour of their Baldwin Park warehouse/training restaurant and lots of In N Out merchandise made it an easy decision.
I never felt pressured to shut down my web site and it was cool to know that the leaders at In N Out were aware of it. Many sites have since stolen my material, but I know that I was the first to put much of out it there.
Many claim that their local burger chains are the best, and as a burger connoisseur, I have been to many chains. Whataburger and Shake Shack are two which many compare to In N Out, but I feel that there is no comparison. I was in Arizona on a trip and saw that a Whataburger was 5 minutes away from my hotel, so I obviously had to visit. It was prior to lunch, so the dining room was empty. I ordered my food and waited to taste it. I received a cold burger, with the cheese having come out of a fridge a second prior to being given my order. The patty was as cold as the lettuce, and I was not impressed at all. The only redeeming factor for that visit was their spicy ketchup and their root beer was mixed well.
Customer service is key to me, and my inquiry/complaint to Whataburger did not merit a response from them. I have since banned myself from ever going to a Whataburger for the rest of my life. On the other hand, I've reached out to In N Out Customer Service many times (for small issues, or even to give praise to someone who did well) and they always reach out to me many times. So many times that I have programmed their phone number on my phone so that I know who is calling me. They also send me a yearly Xmas card in the mail.