In-N-Out Refuses East Coast Expansion, Despite West Coast Minimum Wage Hikes Hurting Business

By: Beth Moreton | Published: May 01, 2024

With In-N-Out being big throughout the West of the US, many on the East Coast were hoping that the burger chain might expand East.

However, In-N-Out’s president has warned burger fans not to get their hopes up. There are no current plans to expand to the East Coast, and it will likely never happen.

In-N-Out’s President Is the Founder’s Granddaughter

Talk about keeping it in the family, as In-N-Out’s current President is the granddaughter of its founder.

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Lynsi Snyder poses for the camera. She is wearing black, has her back slightly turned away from the camera, and has turned her head around to face it.

Source: In-N-Out Burger/Wikimedia Commons

Lynsi Snyder, who became president of In-N-Out in 2010, is continuing the family-run business 75 years after it was first founded.

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In-N-Out Has Doubled Since 2010

Since Snyder became President, the company has more than doubled in size.

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A sign for In-N-Out Burger. The sign is red and has a yellow arrow pointing towards the restaurant. There are trees on either side of the sign.

Source: Kevin Lanceplaine/Unsplash

If the company plans to expand further, it could move to the East Coast, but this is not currently looking likely.

In-N-Out Now Has 400 Restaurants

In-N-Out began as a burger stand in Los Angeles, California, and has since expanded to 400 restaurants.

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An In-N-Out restaurant. People are sitting inside the restaurant. The sign outside is lit up.

Source: Kyle Smith/Unsplash

Since then, In-N-Out has expanded to multiple states, including New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, and Texas.

In-N-Out Is Opening a Tennessee Restaurant in 2026

Despite claiming the burger chain has no plans to move to the East Coast anytime soon, In-N-Out is still planning to move east to Tennessee.

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The outside of an In-N-Out restaurant during the daytime. A man in a black baseball cap is standing outside the restaurant. Trees are in front of and behind the restaurant.

Source: Jacob Baltierra/Unsplash

It’s been reported that the restaurant will open in 2026 in Franklin, just outside Nashville.

In-N-Out Customers Requested the Tennessee Restaurant

The move to Tennessee came after In-N-Out customers requested a restaurant be opened there.

A view of an In-N-Out restaurant from inside another building. People are standing outside the restaurant. Cars are queued up outside the building. A plane is flying overhead.

Source: Venti Views/Unsplash

This has brought some hope to those living on the East Coast: they believe that if they request it long and hard enough, they could get an In-N-Out restaurant, too.

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In-N-Out Still Uses the Same Wholesalers as in the 1940s

Business Insider has reported that In-N-Out still uses the same wholesalers as its founder did in the 1940s and 50s.

A bag with the In-N-Out logo on it says, “Quality you can taste since 1948.” Two takeaway coffee cups with brown lids are next to the bag.

Source: Kevin Lanceplaine/Unsplash

The business also uses individual sellers as opposed to creating a franchise.

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Why In-N-Out Will Never Move to the East Coast

In-N-Out’s continued use of the same wholesalers is a huge part of the reason the company will never move to the East Coast.

A sign for an In-N-Out burger restaurant. The sign is along a road, and a car is driving past it.

Source: Alessandro Porri/Unsplash

The fast food company likes its produce to be fresh and local, which would require building new distribution centers on the East Coast.

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In-N-Out Does not Use Microwaves

If In-N-Out were to move away from its distribution centers, it would have to rely on frozen food.

A red tray with In-N-Out food on it. There are two burgers, plain fries, and loaded fries on the tray.

Source: Kenny Eliason/Unsplash

As the Tasting Table reports, In-N-Out doesn’t use microwaves and only wants fresh food and produce. Moving this far, at the moment, will never be an option.

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In-N-Out Restaurants Within 300 Miles of Distribution Centers

Taste of Home has reported that all In-N-Out restaurants should be within 300 miles of its distribution centers.

A lit-up sign for an In-N-Out restaurant.

Source: Kevin Lanceplaine/Unsplash

As a move to the East Coast would involve moving further than this 300 miles, it’s unlikely that one will be on the cards anytime soon.

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Everything at In-N-Out Is Done by Hand

It isn’t just the burger patties at In-N-Out that are fresh; most of its other ingredients are, too.

In-N-Out food. There are two cheeseburgers, two portions of plain fries, some sauce, and some napkins.

Source: Ashley Green/Unsplash

According to Reader’s Digest, everything is made by hand. The French fries are cut by hand, the lettuce is taken apart leaf-by-leaf, and the burger buns are freshly toasted for each order.

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In-N-Out Is Exclusive

In-N-Out is only on the West Coast, which gives it exclusive appeal to customers.

A sign for an In-N-Out Burger restaurant during the daytime. Palm trees are on either side of the sign.

Source: Vanessa Serpas/Unsplash

By not being on the East Coast, In-N-Out has less competition than other restaurants.

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