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Tell me what is so good about "In and out Burger"

c
callitasicit Jun 10, 2007 09:44 PM

I live in Ontario, Canada and we don't have a lot of the American chain restaurants. I wish we had a whole lot more than we do but I can live with it. I was really surprised to hear so many good things about In and Out Burger, how is it different to any other fast food chain?

  1. m
    mojoeater Jun 10, 2007 10:24 PM

    The big difference is that they have no freezers. None of their meat, fries, or anything is ever frozen. And their produce is usually very fresh. It's the only fast food place where I'll order tomatoes on my burger.

    1. katkoupai Jun 10, 2007 10:31 PM

      You can also see them cutting real potatos into fries. Some people do not like their fries, for various reasons, but they are made with real potatos. They use a special potato cutter, and then they fry the freshly cut "shoestring" potatos.

      Also, the prices at In N Out are very reasonable. I think a combo meal there may be even cheaper than one at a larger chain, such as McDonald's.

      1. Honeychan Jun 10, 2007 10:32 PM

        In-N-Out is beyond delicious! Everything is fresh, and tastes the closest to "home-cooked" from any fast food chain i've ever had. Some people hate their french fries, they don't use any sugars to brown them like Mickey D's does. They can be a bit soggy and limp, but the way around that is to order the fries "well-done" and then they are pretty near perfect!

        Plus, I get grilled onions on my Double-Double, and that alone makes me happy to wait 10 minutes to get my food. (In-N-Out cooks to order, so there is a wait for your food, especially if they are very busy- which is ALL the time!)

        1. ccbweb Jun 10, 2007 10:40 PM

          To me, the key is two things: a very small menu and the use of fresh ingredients. Versus most fast food restaurants their food seems fresher and tastier, mostly because of the freshness. They also pay their employees well and treat them well, from what I understand, which tends to make for a fairly easy experience and the employees seem to take their jobs seriously, which also helps in terms of the final product. I've basically given up on burgers at other fast food restaurants now that I'm in California permanently.

          I also like their shakes. Which I suppose defies the nothing frozen bit...but its worth it.

          5 Replies
          1. re: ccbweb
            katkoupai Jun 10, 2007 10:41 PM

            Yes, they use real ice cream to make their shakes. :)

            1. re: katkoupai
              m
              malibumike Jun 11, 2007 08:55 AM

              To me In n Out has the clean classic taste of an old fashioned cheese burger from the 1950's, it is just a great taste.

            2. re: ccbweb
              Scrapironchef Jun 11, 2007 11:14 AM

              Pretty close to my take on it, the fair pay thing makes for a better product and experience overall. I've seen employees go out of their way to get things right. I actually saw one bend overpick up a straw wrapper off the floor, seems trivial, but most FF employees don't seem to care that much.

              The one big plus that keeps me loyal? Real brewed unsweetened ice tea with a bucket of fresh lemon wedges handy.

              1. re: Scrapironchef
                ccbweb Jun 11, 2007 11:25 AM

                Hmm...I had no idea they had brewed iced tea. I might actually get something other than a Coke.

                1. re: ccbweb
                  s
                  Sacto_Damkier Jun 12, 2007 09:54 PM

                  Love the In-N-Out real iced tea. They also have good lemonade by itself or in a quick Arnold Palmer.

            3. c
              Cathy Jun 11, 2007 09:25 AM

              Since you are in Ontario, you may have seen "In and Out" drive through burger places in the Detroit area- this is NOT the same as the California based, family owned and run chain called "In-N-Out".

              10 Replies
              1. re: Cathy
                c
                callitasicit Jun 11, 2007 04:40 PM

                I meant the In-N-Out one in California I guess. Sounds soo good, why can't we get something like that in Ontario, Canada?? The closest thing we get is Licks which is pretty lousy. I went to Fuddruckers in Buffalo NY and was really impressed with their burgers plus shakes, enjoyed the toppings bar as well. Are the burgers much better at In-N-Out burger??

                1. re: callitasicit
                  j
                  justagthing Jun 11, 2007 04:56 PM

                  Much less expensive at In 'n Out. Also, the menu at Fuddrukker's is more extensive. So it's really like apples and oranges. Hard to compare as one is a fast food and the other is a sit down chain.

                  1. re: callitasicit
                    f
                    Fussy Foodie Jun 11, 2007 05:16 PM

                    In-N-Out uses really thin patties of beef (they gotta be around 2 oz) and puts big hunking slices of cheese and produce in the burgers. It's nothing like Fudd where the big patties of meat are the main focal point. That said, the way all the fresh ingredients mix together at In-N-Out results in a good burger. I don't know if it lives up to the ridiculous hype though.

                    1. re: Fussy Foodie
                      ccbweb Jun 11, 2007 07:28 PM

                      In my mind, as long as you remember that its still a fast food burger...it'll surpass your expectations. If you try to compare them to every burger on the planet, they might not do so well. The hype gets out of hand when people try to claim that they're the best burgers period.....they're the best fast food burger I've ever had...but not the best buger of any kind.

                      1. re: ccbweb
                        Amuse Bouches Jun 18, 2007 11:54 AM

                        They hit their own special spot that the biggest beefiest kobe beef burger with truffles and aged Welsh cheddar and caramelized onions just can't. Which isn't to say that the latter isn't good -- just that it's not in that particular zone.

                    2. re: callitasicit
                      c
                      Cathy Jun 11, 2007 07:25 PM

                      Well, it is family owned and run and so the expansion cost factor is in here. Never franchised. There are stores in AZ an NV as well as CA now. So much is involed with individual laws in each state.

                      Last surviving original owner (it was a husband-wife team) died last year and granddaughter inherited, but hasn't changed anything.

                      1. re: Cathy
                        s
                        Sacto_Damkier Jun 12, 2007 09:58 PM

                        Expansion is limited by the distance from their main warehouse in Southern California. In-N-Out grinds their patties fresh each day and ships them by truck to all the restaurants. Because of this, they cannot expand in their current form beyond CA, NV, and AZ. From their website:

                        "Our hamburgers are made from fresh, 100% pure beef. They are free of additives, fillers and preservatives of any kind, and we buy only chucks, the front ribs and shoulder. No other parts are ever used. Our butchers carefully hand-cut and grind the beef in our own facility at which point the patties are shipped directly to our stores in refrigerated trucks by our own drivers. This way we have total control over the production of every burger."

                        1. re: Sacto_Damkier
                          v
                          Vegasbuff Jun 12, 2007 10:22 PM

                          They did franchise for a very short period of time if I remember correctly after Harry died in 1993. That led to frozen burgers and a noticeable decline in quality. The franchising was quickly snubbed out and returned to its previous state of only using fresh ingredients and retaining total control of all parts of the operation.

                          1. re: Vegasbuff
                            Carrie 218 Jun 13, 2007 07:10 PM

                            True - I remember eating at one of the short-lived franchised branches in Oceanside. Long-since closed, thank god.

                      2. re: callitasicit
                        Honeychan Jun 11, 2007 08:12 PM

                        I used to eat at Fudruckers's in California..I think they are along the lines of Island's..Good, but not usually worth the hour wait, plus the drive to get to one. For a quicker, satisfying burger, In-n-Out is perfect, and worth the hype, at least for me.

                    3. Carrie 218 Jun 11, 2007 04:43 PM

                      Besides the freshness and that they will prepare it anyway you want, it is also incredibly inexpensive -- when I was quite impoverished, my [then] boyfriend and I could both get burgers, fries, and drinks for under $10. That was going out for us.

                      1. baltoellen Jun 11, 2007 05:19 PM

                        It's just not in Canada...those of us away from the West Coast are In-N-Out deprived. Whenever I travel west of the Mississippi, I check the website to see if I can get a 'double double' wherever I end up going.

                        Maybe I'm a sucker, but I do think that they live up to the hype!

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: baltoellen
                          f
                          Fussy Foodie Jun 11, 2007 05:26 PM

                          Maybe i'm just spoiled and take it for granted :-)

                          1. re: Fussy Foodie
                            f
                            Fussy Foodie Jun 15, 2007 05:34 PM

                            Yeah, I think I am spoiled. This thread got me in the mood for a double double, and I've gone twice this week. It really is a notch above all other fast food (a big notch), I still couldn't tell you what specifically is so good about it, but it is good.

                        2. monkuboy Jun 11, 2007 08:16 PM

                          I will agree with the others in this thread that the ingredients at In N Out are fresh. It's not only the food, but also the service and the cleanliness of the place that makes a big difference. The employees HUSTLE; they greet you with a smile and you can understand what they are saying because they speak clearly and enthusiastically. When you throw out your trash, the trash bin is not overflowing from the top to where there's no room left for one more empty cup or wrapper. Contrast this to the McD we went to the other day: every single employee looked like they were sleepwalking; no friendly greeting, no nothing. That's your typical McD experience. Combine that with mediocre food that definitely does not taste fresh like In-N-Out and no wonder In-N-Out is so popular. McD's service is probably the worst of all the chains (don't the franchise owners have a clue about customer service???) but even with the others, In-N-Out's average customer experience is way above any of the other big chains. I personally like In-N-Out's food the best but to me, the place is a whole lot better because of the value that is added by the way they care for their customers service-wise.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: monkuboy
                            Danimal n Hustler Jun 11, 2007 11:44 PM

                            The reason why In-N-Out cannot expand any more than to CA, NV, and AZ is because they only have one meat plant where they ship to a limited proximity since their meat cannot be frozen. That is what keeps their reputation and quality top notch. I'm sure eventually they'll set up more meat plants to the outer states but until then all the non-Californians are SOL.

                            -Hustler

                          2. ipsedixit Jun 12, 2007 10:11 PM

                            It's a no nonsense burger at a very reasonable price.

                            None of this "angus" or "sirloin" stuff, or teriyaki this or southwestern that. Just plain old hamburger patty, lettuce, tomato, and cheese (maybe).

                            Plus, the prices are unbeatable.

                            It's what all those other fast-food chain burgers would be, or should be, if they didn't try so hard to be different.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: ipsedixit
                              monkuboy Jun 13, 2007 06:45 AM

                              Yup... find your strength and do it right - that's what they do. Their lack of variety on the menu certainly doesn't seem to have hampered sales.

                            2. o
                              Ollie Jun 15, 2007 04:44 PM

                              Two Words...."Animal Style" Baby!

                              16 Replies
                              1. re: Ollie
                                c
                                callitasicit Jun 16, 2007 08:43 PM

                                All I can say is I am jealous of all you patrons of this fine establishment.

                                1. re: callitasicit
                                  j
                                  justagthing Jun 16, 2007 08:57 PM

                                  You need to come on down for a visit. Plenty of hounders that would be willing to accompany you I'm sure.

                                  1. re: justagthing
                                    c
                                    callitasicit Jun 17, 2007 09:22 AM

                                    Is it really worth the trip to go? Are you a regular patron there?

                                    1. re: callitasicit
                                      c
                                      Cathy Jun 17, 2007 10:11 AM

                                      If you live here, there are many. It is inexpensive and a meal. When my brother flew out from Michigan for a business trip in March, we went to In-N-Out before he picked up his rental car from the airport. When he has to go to Las Vegas for business, he always has at least one meal at an In-N-Out.
                                      Considering fuel costs in excess of $3 a gallon here, and cars are lined up bumper to bumper, at least 10 deep, with people instead of parking and walking inside, I'd say lots of local people are regulars.

                                      1. re: Cathy
                                        o
                                        Ollie Jun 17, 2007 10:55 PM

                                        Any IN-N-Out In So Cal is a "Cash Machine, Cash Cow, Gold Mine" Call it what ever you want. But I have never in my whole life seen one restaurant not be busy "raking in the dough"

                                        1. re: Ollie
                                          c
                                          Cathy Jun 18, 2007 11:46 AM

                                          I meant the people here do not care about fuel prices and are willing to pay that extra amount/waste fuel in addition to buying food. I saw 7 SUV's at my local In-N- Out at 11 a.m. today. Nobody was inside ordering.

                                      2. re: callitasicit
                                        ccbweb Jun 17, 2007 06:45 PM

                                        It depends on the trip, obviously. Its not worth a trip from Canada to somewhere that has one just to eat there. If a person lives relatively near one (several miles) yes, its worth a trip. And, if you're on a road trip and passing near one (again, several miles) its absolutely worth it, especially compared to other fast food. I eat their burgers every time I drive south from San Francisco to Solvang to visit my mother. Aside from that, I probably go to the In N Out just south of SF about once every 2 months or so. I'm certain many people eat there far far far more often than I.

                                        1. re: callitasicit
                                          Honeychan Jun 17, 2007 07:11 PM

                                          If you are -allready- coming to the West-Coast for a vacation, yes, eating at In N Out is a must. Making an entire trip, just to visit? Weeeeellll..I personally coulden't justify it.

                                          My example: I adore Tim Horton's. LOVELOVELOVE them, and wish nothing more than be be earing a maple bar with a hot cup of black coffee from Timmy's right about now. Do I love TH's enough to base an entire vacation around? Sorry, but no. If I was up in Canada for other business, or for vacation, you bet i'd eat there as much as possible. Basing an entire trip on a single thing might backfire!

                                          What if, after all of us have raved about how perfect we think In N Out is, but once you tried it, you just though..."Ehhh" I bet you might be a bit upset..I would!

                                          1. re: Honeychan
                                            l
                                            lintygmom Jun 18, 2007 06:52 AM

                                            I think coming to SoCal eating at Husky Burger in Laguna is a must. Have the burger with pastrami and two sides: fries and onion rings.

                                          2. re: callitasicit
                                            j
                                            justagthing Jun 17, 2007 09:45 PM

                                            Well, the benefit of making a trip to CA is that there are so many places to see, do, visit and eat at. So when you do come down, I would say yes, eat at an In-N-Out. When I first went to Seattle, everyone told me I had to go to Dick's. That is there local burger place that is well known. I did and I was so disappointed. I much prefer an In-N-Out or even a Tommy Burger (sorry, love the works with the chili and all). Although I only eat a Tommy about 3x a year, In-N-Out is only 2 blocks away from me and sometimes, when the wind is blowing the right way, I can smell it (the burgers and onions). That's when I want to go out and get one especially.

                                            1. re: justagthing
                                              ccbweb Jun 17, 2007 10:49 PM

                                              Dick's is a whole different world. But one I love just as I love In N Out. I'm not sure I'd rate the two equivalently...but, then, Dick's doesn't do to-order burgers. They make what they make and you buy it or you don't. Like In N Out, though, they pay their employees very well, treat them well, support education through tuition reimbursements and make solid to good to sometimes exceptional food with good ingredients.

                                              1. re: ccbweb
                                                m
                                                mojoeater Jun 17, 2007 10:52 PM

                                                I am so happy that I'll be back in LA next month. Three months of In & Out, real Chinese, Vietnamese, Mexican...I think I just did that Homer Simpson drool thing.

                                                1. re: mojoeater
                                                  j
                                                  justagthing Jun 17, 2007 11:13 PM

                                                  Welcome home!

                                                2. re: ccbweb
                                                  j
                                                  justagthing Jun 17, 2007 11:11 PM

                                                  Nice to hear that they are so good to their people, et al. I only ate there the one time. When I lived in Seattle, I couldn't wait to go home to have an In-N-Out and other foodie stuff back home in CA. Been back in S.CA for a long time now, when I go back to Seattle, there are places I have to hit, maybe I will try Dick's one more time. Thanks.

                                                  1. re: ccbweb
                                                    k
                                                    kinipela Jun 18, 2007 09:38 AM

                                                    i love the freshness of in-n-out.. and i absolutely like that they treat their employees well... gives me confidence in going to their establishment =) i do like their fries.. some folks don't like it because it doesn't taste like other fast food places.. to which i say.. huh? IT'S FRESH! =)

                                                    1. re: kinipela
                                                      monkuboy Jun 18, 2007 12:26 PM

                                                      Try sampling In-N-Out fries next to McD and those from the other chains.. while I do like McD's fries, next to In-N-Out the ones from McD do not taste like real potatoes. It's like eating real potato chips versus Pringles.

                                        2. l
                                          lintygmom Jun 17, 2007 07:23 PM

                                          Here is what I think is so good about In & Out Burger:

                                          Freshness, from the beef to the slice of tomato that hasn't lost its juice, to the crisp lettuce to the thick and glistening fresh onion to the not-dried out cheese and the sauce and the grilled onions, if you ask for them. The fries are fresh, too, but I don't think they double fry and that cuts into the taste.

                                          The non-chemical taste. Not even the shakes taste weird like those at other chains. The only things that are chemically enhanced are the sodas and what can they do about that?

                                          The service. Those kids seem happy to be working there and happy to see each and every customer. They're polite and clean and they keep the place clean, too. And when they call out your order, they will keep at it if you haven't run up to get it. No letting your order sit on the counter disintegrating. And they cheerfully help newbies through the regular or "secret" ordering process.

                                          You CAN get it your way, and fresh made. I like a double-double protein style and animal style, no sauce, EXTRA fresh onion with a soda and that's how they deliver it to me for less than a frappachino at Starbucks.

                                          1. Barbarella Jun 18, 2007 09:47 AM

                                            My daughter's friend attends the U of Cal. at San Diego. When we were out on vacation to San Diego last summer, she told us we must go to In and Out Burger. My husband grumbled about it being so far from where we were staying. We went there and all of us were glad we did. It was the best fast food berger I had ever eaten. We need this chain in Jersey!!!.

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