The Reason In-N-Out's Menu Has Hardly Changed

In-N-Out Burger, fries and drink
In-N-Out Burger, fries and drink - Walter Cicchetti/Shutterstock

At In-N-Out Burger, you know what you're getting. The simple white-and-red menu board at any location is famously brief, offering hamburgers, cheeseburgers, Double-Double cheeseburgers, fries, and drinks. Of course, there's a secret menu with options like Animal Style fries and burgers that's hardly secret, but the main menu is more or less the same menu that hungry customers ordered from half a century ago. So why is that? It's mostly the longstanding, stubborn philosophy of the founders.

The first In-N-Out appeared in Los Angeles in 1948, created by Harry and Esther Snyder. At the time, the duo ran the business with a straightforward, no-frills motto: "Keep it simple, do one thing, and do it the best you can."

Unlike other famous fast-food companies that experiment with breakfast menus, healthy alternatives, or different cuisine types entirely like the McRib, In-N-Out Burger sticks to basics: Just burgers, fries, and a drink. The strategy seems to be a successful one because grabbing lunch at In-N-Out is a common part of any California trip.

Read more: The Ultimate American Fast Food Restaurants Ranked

Not So Secret Menu

French fries with meat and sauce
French fries with meat and sauce - ShengYing Lin/Shutterstock

But In-N-Out is deceptively simple because it does have that secret menu. As with many secret menus, it's a poorly kept secret. The restaurant itself advertises its "not so secret menu" on its website. There, you can see its famous Animal Style burgers and fries, which add a chunky concoction of pickles, chopped onions, and In-N-Out sauce to your food. What's in the In-N-Out sauce? That's not so secret either, being a mixture of mayonnaise, ketchup, sweet relish, white vinegar, and sugar. It's similar to the Big Mac sauce you'd find at McDonald's.

What else is on that secret menu? If a Double-Double isn't enough with its two patties, you can ask for a 3x3 or a 4x4 burger with even more beef patties stacked inside. You can also order a Protein Style burger, which uses lettuce instead of the buns. Although for all the extra options outside its menu, In-N-Out still has almost no vegan or vegetarian burger options. If you order a burger of any kind, you're getting beef.

The Ins And Outs Of In-N-Out

In-N-Out Burger storefront
In-N-Out Burger storefront - Aaronp/bauer-griffin/Getty Images

Secret menu aside, the restaurant has stayed consistent throughout its long history. Back in the late 1940s, In-N-Out became one of the very first drive-thrus. The name itself comes from its early drive-thru, which used a two-way speaker system invented by Harry Snyder himself. The Snyder family has run the business for nearly 80 years, and they've avoided the spotlight, often rebuffing attempts at franchising or revamping their restaurants. Although they have expanded their reach across the western United States, going from a humble burger joint in Los Angeles to nearly 400 In-N-Outs stretching from California to Texas.

Of course, there have been a few minor changes to the menu over the years. Mostly, these involve drinks. In 2018, In-N-Out added hot chocolate to its menu, about fifteen years after it made its first change, adding lemonade. The hot chocolate wasn't entirely new because the restaurant did serve it briefly in the 1950s. The new version uses chocolate from California's famous chocolate maker Ghirardelli. They're good alternatives for anybody who doesn't want the original milkshakes or fountain soda.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.