Sunday, August 14, 2011

Reading List: In-N-Out Burger (A Behind-the-Counter Look at the Fast-Food Chain That Breaks All the Rules)

It’s no secret how much I love In-N-Out burgers… and after reading the In-N-Out Burger: (A Behind-the-Counter Look at the Fast-Food Chain That Breaks All the Rules
by Stacy Perman) I’m now head over heels. All super-fans have their quirks—I liked learning that like me, Julia Child used to keep a map of locations with her and that I’m not the only one who plans my travel according to how early I can get a Double Double (10:30A) and route myself around to hit up a location I haven’t been to yet.

The definition of corporate simplicity and amazing business model:
• “Do one thing and do it well”: A basic menu that includes no more than 10 choices (with a secret menu that makes variations limitless), choices that have changed minimally in their 60 years in business—a direct contrast to most fast food restaurants which trot out a new menu item several times a year (For a limited time only!) in hopes of bringing in more traffic.
• In-N-Out’s motto “Quality you can taste” should be followed with “Do what you love and have fun doing it”, as shown by the smiles and courteousness of their employees. Not once in 15 years have I noticed a bored or sullen employee.
• Their original expansions were done only when they had enough cash to buy new store locations. The In-N-Out dining experience remains special occasion because in 60 years, they’re only hitting 265 locations (in contrast, McDonalds now has over 32,000 locations.)
• Harry and Esther Snyder, the founders have always paid their employees a fair wage, often several dollars higher than the minimum wage.
• The company routinely makes the top of fast food customer satisfaction lists and was about the only chain that emerged from Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation unscathed.
• Their online customer service is a dream…I sent a ‘hey thanks for all you do and could you open a new location’ email on a Sunday morning, I had a personalized response within 10 minutes.