The Legendary California Burger Restaurant is Finally Coming East of the Mississippi River
For decades, In-N-Out Burger has been a West Coast staple and source of joy for many Californians. But after years of rumors and speculation, the popular California burger chain is finally giving the eastern United States some love with the recent announcement that it will create a corporate hub in Franklin, Tenn., and will open restaurants in the state by 2026.
Tennesseans have been asking for locations for years, says In-N-Out owner and President Lynsi Snyder, who believes that “customers are our most important asset at In-N-Out, and we very much look forward to serving them in years to come.” During a press conference announcing the company’s big initiative, she added that In-N-Out is eyeing locations in Nashville to kick off the burger giant’s expansion into the Volunteer State.
This isn’t just a win for customers – workers can also be double-double excited about job opportunities, along with Tennessee’s chief executive, Gov. Bill Lee. He posted on Twitter that state residents “are excited about the opportunity that In-N-Out Burger is going to bring to Tennessee.”
Dedication to Freshness
In-N-Out-opening in Nashville and around Tennessee would mark the burger joint’s first expansion east of the Mississippi River. Why the aversion to eastward development, you may ask? Simple. In-N-Out ensures product freshness by keeping all restaurants within a day’s drive to one of the company’s meat distribution centers, which are currently located only in Texas and California.
In-N-Out’s Cult-Like Following
Founded in 1948, In-N-Out has become the premier fast-food chain in California. Its cult-like following of fans can’t get enough of the brand’s famous Double-Double Cheeseburger, milkshakes, fries and more. With over 380 locations across Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Oregon, Colorado and Texas, you’ve likely come into contact with In-N-Out at some point if you live out West.
The burger joint’s following covers the full socioeconomic spectrum. Meals are low-priced enough for anonymous families and man-on-the-street workers, but celebs are equally enamored. Reality TV star and businesswoman Kim Kardashian has voiced her support for the iconic brand and even got an In-N-Out cake for her 40th birthday. (Her go-to order is a plain cheeseburger, cheese fries and a vanilla shake, according to People.) And Kardashian’s sister, Kylie Jenner, told Harper’s Bazaar that she ate at In-N-Out at least once a week during her first pregnancy. Celebrity Chef Gorden Ramsey has stated instances of returning for seconds of the Double-Double because they’re so good.
What feeds the loyalty? Maybe it’s the fact that the menu has been virtually the same for decades, giving diners a sense of comfort and stability. Maybe it’s the fast-food chain’s use of fresh, never frozen, beef and fries. Whatever the reason, In-N-Out’s opening in Nashville is likely to be a preview for more eastward expansion – which would definitely appeal to Jimmy Patronis, CFO for the state of Florida. He tried to entice In-N-Out to leave California for the Sunshine State.
Will corporate-owned In-N-Out use franchising as a route to further expansion? Snyder doesn’t want to do so, probably because of the up-front capital the company would have to fork out to create the necessary model. So, franchising seems unlikely, perhaps forever and definitely for the near future. And yet … and yet: The chain’s leaders had never previously shown any inclination to go as far east as Tennessee. So, one can still dream, right?