Will In-N-Out Burger hit East Coast next?

The opening of Texas locations and a Dallas distribution center could mean moves as far north as Iowa and as far east as Florida.

By InvestorPlace May 13, 2011 9:57AM

Southern California's In-N-Out Burger has officially opened in Texas. And if opening day of the Frisco location is any indication, Ronald McDonald should be shaking in his big red shoes. 


Despite gas prices averaging more than $4 a gallon, folks waited as long as three hours in the In-N-Out drive-thru to get a taste of its burgers. Some even ran out of gas and had to have some delivered.


It's all part of what some folks think is a big expansion plan that could bring the burger joint with a cult following to the entire Southern U.S.


In-N-Out, which previously operated in five Western states, has some of the most die-hard customers in all of America. Some even travel from state to state to help celebrate new openings, and according to quotes in sundry reports over the past day or two, all of them share a love for In-N-Out's quality product and its lauded customer service.


While some fast-food joints are trying to trim the fat to appeal to health-conscious and status-seeking customers, In-N-Out takes pride in serving up its burgers -- just burgers -- hot and greasy. Best known is the Double Double, but all In-N-Out burgers are made with 100% fresh beef that's never frozen. The french fries also are made with freshly cut potatoes.


As for customer service, ordering is as simple as bellowing a No. 1, 2 or 3 to the friendly waitstaff and then adding American cheese, leafed lettuce, sliced onions and/or In-N-Out's special spread. The simple, good food and the straightforward, friendly ordering process make mistakes rare.

In-N-Out has been creeping slowly eastward, much to the delight of anyone who has ever tasted its burgers. In addition to the Frisco and Allen locations in Texas, at least six others are planned for the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Future growth could bring In-N-Out restaurants to Houston, Austin and San Antonio.


More importantly, In-N-Out added a distribution center in Dallas to serve the Texas locations. And based on the nearly 700-mile radius of its distribution in the Western U.S. -- its facility in Baldwin Park, Southern California, serves locations as far away as northern Utah -- its feasible that In-N-Out could expand as far north as Iowa and as far east as the Florida panhandle.


Like the customers at the newest location in Texas, however, folks in those states likely have a long wait. It has taken In-N-Out almost three years to open eight restaurants in Utah. Despite a rabid following, the chain is measured in its expansion plans. It's also worth noting that many burger joints are on the defensive. McDonald's (MCD) recently raised prices on its Big Mac because of inflation, and Wendy's (WEN) just hiked its menu prices for the second time in two months.


However, if In-N-Out is serious about growth, then McDonald's and Wendy's may have bigger problems on their hands than inflation. Increased competition from a chain with such loyal customers could really shake up the fast-food industry.


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7Comments
May 13, 2011 5:31PM
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I disagree with you, "AgainstGovernmentWaste".  I think that In-N-Out dominates Five Guys. I've had Five Guys a few times, because all of my friends wanted to try it out. Everytime I leave, I feel like I could have done better at Whataburger, instead of dropping $13 for a burger, fries and a drink. I was really impressed by In-N-Out. I went to the one in Frisco today (Friday) at noon, and only waited about 15 mins in line, plus a few minutes for my food. I don't like waiting in line, but I think it was definitely worth it this time.
Oct 4, 2011 7:17AM
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I live in Northern Virginia where Five Guys started several years ago.  In-N-Out Burger offers a way better burger than Five Guys.  Five guys offers soggy fries where In-N-Out are crispy.  The In-N-Out Burger restaurants are fresh looking and clean where Five Guys feels and looks like a greasy spoon.  As a matter of fact when you leave Five Guys you feel like you just worked a shift in the kitchen cooking french fries all day. 

 

Please bring In-Out-Burger to the East Coast sooner than later!

Nov 1, 2011 6:17PM
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I recently moved to the midwest after growing up in California all my life.  I have searched for a comparable burger place to In N Out with no luck whatsoever.  People often say Five Guys is just as good, if not better.  The only thing I liked about Five Guys is that you can customize your toppings.  But I honestly left that restaurant feeling unsatisfied, greasy, and about 10 lbs heavier.  I miss my fresh and juicy Double Double. :(

In N Out has some very loyal friends and fans out here in the Midwest.  If only they could make their way out here!
Oct 17, 2013 9:33AM
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We live in Nebraska and the first thing we do when going to California is to stop at In and Out for a burger and fries and milk shake.  At least now we can wet our appetite while going through Utah now. I love to watch them take a fresh potato out of the pile put it through the slicer then eventually into the fryer and unto the tray.  Freshest fries of any.  They are not frozen, the beef is not frozen. We have 5 Guys here and they don't compare.   The Double Double is our favorite too.
Oct 16, 2013 10:49PM
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go to the butcher, get some ground chuck, fire up the grill,get some cheese, bacon, and anything you deem useful to eat between the patty and bun, and you will have a burger better than in and out, and if you do the math, youll have enough left over to take the kids to 31 flavors... 
May 13, 2011 1:55PM
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Try  the 5 Guys Burgers down the street.  Better burger and  you don't have to wait in line.
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