The Real Reason In-N-Out Won’t Open Restaurants on the East Coast

In-N-Out restaurants are exclusive to the West Coast–but they have just as many fans on the East Coast too. Here's the real reason why the chain won't be opening locations on the East Coast.

in-n-out burgerKapi Ng/shutterstock

Ask any East Coast or West Coast burger-lover, and they will likely have an opinion on a timeless debate. Which burger is better—In-N-Out or Shake Shack? For In-N-Out lovers, the hope for some East Coast locations is strong. But there’s one main reason why the chain hasn’t expanded beyond Texas—frozen patties.

The company refuses to sell frozen patties to ensure that customers are only eating the highest-quality meat, according to the official website. That’s why all In-N-Out restaurant locations are within 300 miles of In-N-Out’s patty-making facilities. These facility locations are only in California and Texas, hence the lack of any East Coast locations. This commitment to fresh food applies to other key ingredients, too—the fries are hand-cut, the lettuce is hand-leafed, and the buns are freshly baked. Not to mention, the chain locations don’t have any freezers or microwaves. Don’t miss the foods nutritionists would never order at a fast food restaurant.

That said, other restaurant chains that also use unfrozen beef haven’t had a problem with creating more locations all over America (and the world) including Five Guys, Shake Shack, and Smashburger. However, unlike In-N-Out, none of those restaurants make the list of the oldest restaurant chains in America.

There are a few other reasons, however, as to why In-N-Out hasn’t expanded. Lynsi Snyder—the company president and only grandchild of the In-N-Out founders Harry and Esther Snyder—said that they would never franchise, Business Insider reports. Plus, limiting locations of the fast-food restaurant also minimizes competition while giving the chain an exclusive appeal.

Emily DiNuzzo
Emily DiNuzzo is a former staff writer at Reader’s Digest. There’s a 90% chance Emily is drinking tea right now, but when she’s not writing about food and health with a cuppa by her side, you can find her lifting at the gym, listening to murder mystery podcasts and liking one too many astrology memes.