As many of you know, I am a big fan of In-N-Out Burger. My history with the company goes back to 1993….
A friend of mine worked at In-N-Out during our senior year of high school and persuaded me to try it. We visited the Torrance location a few times during lunch – I won’t mention that we had a closed campus and lunch was supposed to be at school. I felt at that time that the burgers were OK initially, but eventually started enjoying them as I started using the secret menu to order.
Around 1994, I setup a dialup internet account with a local ISP called LA Internet. As part of the setup, I was provided with an amazing 1MB of available web space. Being the big time geek at that time who was soaking up anything that had to do with the internet, I had to do something with the web space. Never mind that I had no clue what HTML meant.
I debated what my subject matter would be and noticed that In-N-Out Burger had no web presence at all. I quickly decided on creating an In-N-Out Burger site.
You can view an archive of the site here:
Unofficial In N Out Burger Web Site Archive
The site started with a basic location listing (manually typed from a pocket location guide) and secret menu details. It evolved into fans and In-N-Out associates sending me stuff to add, while also adding items such as a scanned receipt of my usual order or scans of placements/postcards. I was contacted by Steve Lopez from the Los Angeles Times once day to discuss a possible article on In-N-Out Burger, but that never materialized.
My big concern with creating the site was the possibility of In-N-Out Burger Corporate asking me to take the site down. I met the CIO of In-N-Out at the Redondo Beach location and was told that I had the blessing of the company all the way to the top to continue the site.
As time went by, I updated the location guide often with new location information and eventually stopped updating the site besides this task.
After a while, I decided that I should probably update the site with new HTML technology and possibly acquiring a domain name that would include In-N-Out in it. I mentioned this to my contact at In-N-Out Burger, and at that time was asked if I could take down the site as the new corporate website was going to launch soon. Considering that In-N-Out Burger Customer Service was receiving calls on MY site often, with their blessing to have my site available to begin with, it was an easy decision to shut down the site.
In appreciation of my work over the years to maintain a web presence for the company, I was invited to tour the In-N-Out warehouse and very quickly accepted.
I will not go into exact detail of what I saw as I considered it a privilege to visit the location, but the things that I saw were:
Butchers cutting down the meat into smaller pieces
Machines making the patties
Area where all of the fresh vegetables were stored
The spread making machine (yes, I asked for a take home MEGA packet of it, but was eventually denied!)
Sat behind the food preparation area at the nearby training location catering to real customers
Visit to the In-N-Out Burger company store where I was given carte blanche on whatever I wanted from the store
Along with my visit to the company store, I was also given a considerable amount of free food coupons. I would say that I walked away with about $1,000 in free food and merchandise. Not a bad deal for a site which I created as a hobby and learning experience.
I had already decided to shut down the site prior to my visit, but this sealed my decision and I took it down. A week or so after, I received a box from In-N-Out Burger with additional merchandise and a few more free food coupons.
As you can see, I have history with In-N-Out Burger besides just a regular customer of their outstanding food. I occasionally will run across some of my content such as the secret menu on other sites, and have been asked many times about my employment with the company by In-N-Out Burger associates who see my In-N-Out license plate frame (also compliments of the company!). One associate at the Redondo Beach location, after giving him the 1 minute summary of my history with the company, would then call me the In-N-Out Burger website guy upon my future visits to that location.
Thanks for reading my History with In-N-Out Burger… and don’t forget:
In-N-Out Burger…That’s what a hamburger’s all about.