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Jul 8, 2011 09:34 PM

In 'n' Out Burger Highest Rated by Consumer Reports

Not surprisingly, In 'n' Out burger swept the fast food burger category for CR in the latest issue. Wish I lived closer to one.

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  1. I can think of four In-n-Outs within 10 minutes of where I live in LA and haven't been to one in years. Reason? They're always crowded. When taking into consideration the time it takes from the time I arrive, stand in line (or queue in the drive-up), order and finally get your food, the "fast" in fast food no longer applies. It's a sign of their success - deservedly so. But my time is more valuable to me, and there are so many great burger options in LA that scratches the itch even better (IMHO). And don't get me started on their anemic fries...

    3 Replies
    1. re: bulavinaka

      That makes sense. It will probably be worse now. For me it is a treat, once every few years so I don't mind, but I know when I was working in San Jose for a few weeks at a stretch I had no desire to return a second time any time soon.

      1. re: sekelmaan

        Please don't get me wrong - In-n-Out does a great service to what fast food should be - at least at a minimum. The lines keep forming no matter how many units they open - great for their bottom line, not great for people like me (who aren't willing to deal with lines), but I think I'm in the minority.

      2. re: bulavinaka

        I agree on the icky fries. What's funny is that on the rare occasion that I go there (maybe 2-3 times per year), one of two things happnes: 1) I remember that I don't like the fries and just order the burger, and I sit there watching my friends eat fries and wish I had ordered some, even though I KNOW I don't really like them; or 2) I order the fries and pick them half-heartedly after enjoyijng my burger, thinking, "why did I order these lame fries?"

      3. This was not a rating by CR, rather a poll of readers -- big diff.

        1. I know I'm in a tiny minority, but I don't like In N Out food.
          Or 5 Guys, for that matter.

          I'd rather have McDonalds or Burger King or White Castle, as far as chains go. (But it depends on the individual shop and who's doing the cooking when I visit.)

          9 Replies
          1. re: racer x

            You know the "cooks" at McDonalds, BK, and WC?

            1. re: tommy

              Hehe. No, I meant that some restaurant chains' individual branches produce consistently good food and others consistently bad food, but the quality can vary even within a branch based on who is cooking at any given time. I can't know in advance of receiving the order whether I will be sure to like it.

              1. re: racer x

                Why can't you know in advance if you'll like it since you apparently know who is cooking and when?

                I haven't noticed the difference between a Big Mac in San Francisco and a Big Mac in NYC over the span of 20 years, much less the difference in any given McDonalds depending on the "cook".

                1. re: tommy

                  Well, one of my first jobs 25 years ago was at McDonald's, and I became so adept on the grill that that's where they put me always. Your message has me thinking in two different directions, oddly.

                  First, it is a prime corporate ambition at McDonald's for their products NOT to vary from location to location, though I hear they've loosened a bit over the last decade or so to admit some regional variations-say, a burger in Shanghai employing some East Asian twist. But they really do want a Big Mac in Rome to be identical to one in Wichita.

                  On the other hand, I also find that the care of preparation varies from place to place. I got so good at working the grill that, out of sheer boredom and need of a challenge, I explored what it would take to make burgers like the Big Mac look exactly like the poster pictures. And I discovered that it's not a matter of adding more stuff; it was a matter of assembling the elements carefully, layering the lettuce evenly, putting the stipulated amount of sauce dead center, etc. And of course, there's avoiding overcooking. etc. These things looked a lot better and were also better eating. There's definitely room for variation in actual quality, but the business sure does what it can to make the most basic matters idiot-proof.

                  Not to seem too geeky, but to this day--over 20 years later--I get offended if I see lazy-ass McDonald's workers, indifferent, sloppy, etc. Doesn't happen too often.

                  1. re: Bada Bing

                    Despite what may be the best intentions of corporate headquarters, I've certainly experienced a fair amount of variability. One restaurant I regularly used to get lunch from put pepper on their Big Macs -- enough pepper that you could really taste it (yuch) -- something that most branches don't do. Some branches don't seem to have their fryers set at the right temperature, or they don't cook the fries for the right amount of time, so the fries never taste right. At many branches, depending on who's working, and on how busy they are, they oversalt or undersalt the fries. Etc

                    And that kind of variability is hardly specific to McDonald's.

                    1. re: Bada Bing

                      I used to work at McDonald's too and I always get annoyed when they don't suggestive sell. Not that I want to buy anything more, but our manager ALWAYS got on people for not suggestive selling.

                      1. re: dmjordan

                        I don't think suggestive sale is very popular these days -- since the SuperSize thing.

                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                          i still get very annoyed when it doesn't happen.

                          1. re: tommy

                            "annoyed when it doesn't happen"

                            Annoyed when people don't ask you to supersize your food?

            2. Good to hear the food is so tasty as they're building one half a block away, promising to plunge my 'hood into a state of total chaos.
              Was at least happy to hear they'll be posting police outside the entrance to my little neighborhood so I may possibly be able to wiggle out in my car while the masses of frenzied Texans grab their first In-n-Out, haha!

              1. I haven't been to In and Out forever, but I love them.