Why is the world obsessed with In'N'Out burger?

posted on: Thursday, 19 February 2015

Burgers… in America…. Where does one start? Sure the burger was invented elsewhere, but it was in the great U S of A that burgers found their real get-up-and-go. These days having your favourite burger joint is akin to having a certain way you take your coffee every morning. A burger is a statement about who you are. Do you take bacon, extra cheese, like it well done, still mooing or with more meat piled on top, like pulled pork? You name it, you can find it and claim it as your favourite. When you enter into the great state of California, however, I get the feeling you will pretty much be chucked out the front door if you don’t declare In’N’Out as an absolute favourite. People are religious about this establishment.

The service at any In’N’Out I’ve ever been to is stellar. From the people directing traffic at the entrance (yes, this is needed – it’s like herding hungry cats) to the drive-thru attendant taking your cash or card, all greet you with smiles and friendly hellos. They live to service your burger needs. However, and I’m certainly putting myself out on a limb here, In’N’Out’s burger is pretty much just ok, in the grand scheme of things.

Let’s just go ahead and put out there that no drive-thru burger is ever really going to be better than “good.” Although I do think Carl’s Jr. is onto something – try, definitely (more to come on that later).  Fast food is tough going. It’s fast, so there’s no real dedication to the food making process. It’s all about feeding the massives as quickly as possible. In’N’Out definitely has the masses, there’s no doubt about that. But, I’m still trying to figure out why everyone is so head over heels insane about this place. Granted, the shakes are incredible and the fries perfectly put together. But, the burger is average…or at best, good.

I guess I was just a little disappointed the first time I had In’N’Out. It has been so hyped for me. Fashion women had come back from Los Angeles and talked about this burger to end all burgers and my mouth watered at the thought. I should have known better. I was taking advice from people who generally don’t really eat burgers on a regular basis, or anything at all for that matter. I’m an idiot.

Yet, every time I return to LA I go to In’N’Out. I wait in the queue. I take in the bright yellows and reds as I watch hungry humans (and small dogs) line up behind me in their various vehicles. Our last visit saw us sandwiched between a Ferrari and a Prius, with a massive camper van situated just behind. We approach the window and I say a silent prayer that this time will be different, this time will be the moment I get THAT burger that everyone keeps screaming about. But once again I am left not entirely satisfied and wondering if Father’s Office in Santa Monica is still open (now THAT’s a real burger).

What am I missing guys? I’ve even tried animal style. What gives? Why is this the best burger? Genuinely I want to know. I get that they are an established house of burgers and have a great history. I get that they have great colour schemes and are hyped across social media as the cool burger. There is definitely an "it factor" here. Perhaps I just missed In'N'Out's prime.