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.

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.


In-N-Out Has Doubled Since 2010

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

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.

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.

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.