Even if you’ve never been to one, you have probably heard about In-N-Out. The famous California fast food chain is frequently mentioned in pop culture – and is beloved by chefs and celebrities. It has both a regular menu and a so-called secret menu…that isn’t much of a secret!
In-N-Out has a basic menu that features burgers, fries, soda, and shakes. You can also customize almost any menu item by adding extra hamburger patties, more cheese, or even removing things like the bun. The restaurants feature fresh, high-quality ingredients, and are priced fairly
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The History and Allure of In-N-Out Burger
In-N-Out Burger is a California-based fast food chain that was founded in 1948. It has locations throughout California, as well as in a handful of Western states. Because In-N-Out doesn’t franchise its operations, it has more limited locations compared to other chain fast food restaurants. It has chosen to not franchise in order to ensure food quality and consistency.
In-N-Out has been rated as one of the top fast-food restaurant chains by customers. In fact, the chain is even beloved by top chefs like Thomas Keller (of French Laundry fame), the late Anthony Bourdain, Gordon Ramsey (of the Hell’s Kitchen show), and Ina Garten (the Barefoot Contessa). Julia Child was a long-time fan of In-N-Out as well and even had its burgers delivered to her during a hospital stay.
In-N-Out Burger is known for using natural and fresh ingredients, which is part of why it has gained such a loyal following. Because it is family-owned – and not franchised – In-N-Out has even been allowed to operate in areas, such as Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco, where chain restaurants are otherwise forbidden. Because In-N-Out has comparatively few locations, it is often a priority for tourists to visit a restaurant when in California or in a state that is lucky enough to have a store.
The In-N-Out menu is focused on burgers: hamburgers, cheeseburgers, and the double-double (which consists of two hamburger patties and two slices of cheese). They also have french fries, fountain sodas, and three flavors of milkshakes. In 2018, In-N-Out added a new menu item – hot chocolate with marshmallows – which was big news for the chain.
In-N-Out burgers come with lettuce, tomato, with or without fresh or grilled onions, and a spread (similar to Thousand Island dressing). The chain also allows customers to add extra patties and slices of cheese for an extra cost. After one customer ordered a 100 x 100 (100 patties and 100 slices of cheese) in 2004, the company limited these customized orders to no more than 4 x 4.
In addition to the main menu, In-N-Out maintains what is known as the “secret” menu (which can be found on the In-N-Out website). Secret menu items include a 3×3, a 4×4, grilled cheese sandwiches, Protein Style burgers (wrapped in lettuce instead of buns), Animal Style burgers (cooked in mustard and with added condiments, Neapolitan shakes, and the Flying Dutchman, which is 2 patties and 2 slices of cheese with no bun, condiments, or vegetables. Protein Style and Animal Style burgers are so famous that the company trademarked the names.
In-N-Out Menu and Prices
The basic In-N-Out menu – the one that appears on the menu board – hasn’t changed much since 1948. It consists of the following items:
- Double-Double Burger: toasted bun, 2 slices of cheese, 2 beef patties, grilled or raw onions, lettuce, spread, and tomatoes. Cost: $4.90.
- Double-Double Combo: includes french fries and a medium drink. Cost: $9.15
- Cheeseburger: toasted bun, 1 slice of cheese, 1 beef patty, grilled or raw onions, lettuce, spread, and tomatoes. Cost: $3.50.
- Cheeseburger Combo: includes french fries and a medium drink. Cost: $7.75
- Hamburger: toasted bun,1 beef patty, grilled or raw onions, lettuce, spread, and tomatoes. Cost: $3.15.
- Hamburger Combo: includes french fries and a medium drink. Cost: $7.40
- French fries: hand-cut, fresh potatoes fried in sunflower oil. Cost: $2.15
- Soft drinks: Coke, Diet Coke, Seven Up, Dr Pepper, root beer, pink lemonade, Minute Maid zero sugar lemonade, iced tea. Cost: $1.95 (small), $2.10 (medium), $2.30 (large), or $2.50 (extra large).
- Milkshakes: choice of chocolate, strawberry, or vanilla. Cost: $2.80
- Milk: $0.99
- Coffee: $1.35
- Hot Cocoa: with marshmallows. Cost: $1.35
In-N-Out’s secret menu prices are a bit harder to nail down. Unlike the regular menu – where the prices are listed – there isn’t a display that lists the “not-so-secret” menu and its prices. Fortunately, many of these menu items have similar prices to the main menu – you will simply need to add the cost of extra items (such as $1.20 per extra burger patty).
Secret menu items include:
- Protein-Style Burger: burger patty wrapped in lettuce instead of a bun. Cost: $3.05
- 3×3 Burger: 3 beef patties on a burger. Cost: $7.30
- 4×4 Burger: 4 beef patties on a burger. Cost: $9.49
- Animal-Style Burger: additional spread, cheese, and grilled onions to a burger cooked in mustard. Cost: $3.89
- The Flying Dutchman: Two slices of cheese melted between two beef patties without any veggies, condiments, or bun. Cost: $2.30
- The Grilled Cheese: two slices of cheese in a bun, served with onions, spread, lettuce, and tomato. Cost: $2.35
- Animal-Style Fries: the spread, cheese, and grilled onions are added to the fries. Cost: $4.25
- Roadkill Fries: Regular fries topped with spread, American cheese, a crumbled beef patty, and caramelized onions. Cost: $5.85
- Neapolitan Milkshake: chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry milkshake in one cup. Cost: $3.05
Why Are -N-Out Prices Different by Location?
In-N-Out is known for its relatively low prices. Getting a combo meal at In-N-Out Burger is typically cheaper than a similar meal at McDonald’s or another chain. That being said, its prices have increased due to inflation and related issues. There are also price differences between locations.
The reason for this is relatively simple: the cost of doing business is higher in certain locations. For example, in Los Angeles, the minimum wage is $16.90 per hour (compared to $15.50 per hour in other parts of California). In Utah, where In-N-Out also has a few restaurants, the minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. When labor costs are significantly higher in a particular place, this will often translate to higher menu prices.
Other costs – such as rent or mortgage and food costs – also contribute to menu prices. Restaurants set prices based on their desired profit margin. When it costs more to make a menu item, a restaurant will typically increase the price to ensure that it maintains that profit margin.
Of course, In-N-Out is still a good deal for many customers – especially in cities where the cost of living is already high! The food is freshly prepared, high quality, and absolutely delicious.
Running a Burger Restaurant? Budget Branders Can Help.
Your burger joint might not have the cult following of In-N-Out – but you can still make it both profitable and a success. In-N-Out has had a lot of luck with its branding strategy, with its iconic yellow and white logo printed on cups, wrappers, and even merch. You can print your own logo on disposable items to help build a similar cachet.
At Budget Branders, we work with smaller, independently owned and operated food service businesses to help get them the high-quality disposable items that they need at a fair price. We know that most restaurants don’t have an In-N-Out budget – or the space to store hundreds of thousands of promotional items – which is why we strive to make it as easy as possible to get the high-quality goods that you need for a fraction of the price. We can supply you with the takeout supplies that burger joints need like custom paper cups, custom wax paper sheets, custom napkins, custom soup bowls, custom sandwich bags, and custom deli bowls.
To learn more or to get a quote on our products, fill out our online contact form, or hit the “live chat” button.