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Mar 5, 2010 08:08 AM

Will In N Out Burgers ever open a restaurant in NYC?

Anyone have any idea?

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  1. It could happen, but i would not hold your breath for it to happen any time soon. They do not franchise and they open new stores very slowly in order to keep quality the same from store to store. If you look at the location map on their website, they are not far east outside of California, so the idea of them coming here before the rest of the country between the west and the east coast would not happen any time soon.

    1 Reply
    1. re: roro1831

      Well, they'd be very smart to ride the crest of the burger craze that has SEIZED New Yorkers. I respect their commitment to quality, and will keep my crossables crossed.

      I never thought Trader Joe's would make it here, but they did, following (as they tend to) Whole Foods into my neighborhood (Union Square, Manhattan).

    2. With all the wonderful food options in NYC, why would you want to foul the area with a bunch of corporate/franchise ran fast food joints?

      1. Probably not anytime soon.

        It has less to do with competition, and more to do with supply chain logistics. For example, all of the hamburger patties that In N Out uses comes from their Baldwin Park facility in Southern California. They can easily transport those to places in CA (LA, SD, SF) and even in places adjacent to CA like AZ and NV, but to go all the way to the east coast would require a complete rejiggering of how they source and transport their raw materials.

        Not an impossible task. But a major one that would require a major corporate re-think.

        1 Reply
        1. re: ipsedixit

          That's what I thought the deal was too - they do not use frozen meat, and do not franchise out the making of the meat, so they will only open stores where delivery can be done within a reasonable amount of time without compromising freshness. Obviously like ipsedixit said, it's not that they couldn't do something different, but it would require a corporate re-think and I think they feel if it ain't broke...

        2. Properly managed, a distribution center in, say, north Texas to serve the central US would have no loss in quality. Plenty of good local beef in Texas, and the potatoes are coming from Idaho anyway. They hire local management, the family doesn't run stores anymore, so that's not stopping them. If the family doesn't want to expand, that's their perogative, but blaming inability to expand on the supply chain, rather than them not wanting to expand the supply chain, is an insult to my intelligence. It's rather like complaining about the color of your house while refusing to buy paint.

          2 Replies
          1. re: aynrandgirl

            "Properly managed"

            Well, there's the kicker. No one said it was impossible for In N Out to expand west of the Rockies. The point that I was trying to make was that it would be quite a major undertaking for a company that is basically still run by like a family-business -- almost mafia like.

            Even using your example of a distribution center in Texas, this would still not necessarily allow them to expand to the east coast. Do you realize that even today, all of the In N Out locations are only a one day's drive from their central distribution location in Irvine, CA? Pretty sure a big rig couldn't make from North Texas to NYC in a 24 hour period of time.

            Also, they have butchers that create the beef, which are essentially these company-created commissaries. They don't open a store outside a 500-mile radius from one of these commissaries, so they can deliver the fresh goods on a daily basis. So their control on quality and sourcing is rather maniacal. Not to say that there isn't good (or even excellent) beef in the Lone Star state, just that it's not necessarily the beef that In N Out wants in their patties.

            To use your analogy, it's like complaining about the color of your house, but then going to Home Depot and being told you can't mix your own paint, it has to be done with the machines on hand. (And, again, this is ASSUMING that In N Out even wants to expand, or, as you say, paint its house.)

            1. re: ipsedixit

              I don't know how management is actually apportioned within In N Out. If day to day operations of the commissary is managed by somebody the family hired, then it makes little sense to argue that a second commissary, also managed by a hired manager, will have lower quality. It's not as if lack of physical proximity makes the manager harder to fire for incompetence.

              I would be more worried about vegetable quality than the beef. The central US, deserved or not, has a reputation for delivering poor-quality vegetables to its residents.

              I mentioned Texas beef for a central US distribution center because I assumed the whole "never frozen" bit required beef be sourced closed to it. The other reason I mentioned Texas is it's a fairly burger-crazy state, which is ideal for expansion.

              At almost 900 miles from Orange to El Paso, Texas could have a distribution center all by itself. If you wanted to cover New Mexico you couldn't service Dallas and Houston.

          2. Let's see know - NYC is busy trying to tell people what kind of fat to use, requires all kind of nutritional labeling (what if you ask for something off menu, which In-n-Out is famous for?), and now wants to mandate you can't use salt.

            Why would In-n-Out want all the headaches of dealing with these food fascists? I sure wouldn't.