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How a Regional Burger Chain Turned Simple into Success.!
Number Two and Loving It.
Fueling Business Growth
There’s a small restaurant on South Sepulveda Boulevard almost directly across the Paciﬁc Coast Highway from The Los Angeles International Airport runway 24R. And there is always a line of people waiting to get inside. Welcome to an American cultural phenomenon known simply as In-N-Out Burger. It’s not a typical fast food hamburger joint.
In-N-Out Burger isn’t the kind of place that would offer anything as exotic as a goat cheese pizza or a California bacon club sandwich. With more than 230 stores in ...view middle of the document...
It has built a competitive advantage by leaving those lowvolume items to its competitors.
In her book In-N-Out Burger: A Behind the Counter Look at the Fast-Food Chain That Breaks All the Rules, author Stacy Perman explored the phenomenon of the restaurant that Harry built:
The little regional chain that was built on a philosophy of quality, made-to-order hamburgers, and “the customer is always king” had over the years drawn fans from every imaginable quarter. In an industry that has come to be seen as a scourge on modern society, responsible for everything from obesity to urban blight to cultural imperialism, this modest, low-slung eatery with the big yellow arrow is unique among fast-food breeds: a chain revered by hamburger aﬁcionados and epicureans, antiglobalization fanatics and corporate raiders, meateaters and even vegetarians. Make mention of the three monosyllabic words and a kind of reverie takes hold. People’s eyes close and their lips begin to quiver with the pleasures of sense memory.
In-N-Out Burger illustrates how you can beat your competitors by being a Customer CEO company. Rather than falling in love with the idea of being innovative in terms of product development, it has succeeded by becoming master of the basics in a commoditized business. It is the best at simply delivering on the core product that customers crave. By keeping things simple, the company reduces mistakes and shortens learning curves. In-N-Out deﬁes conventional wisdom in the fast food industry: there are no freezers, microwaves, or hot racks to keep food warm or to heat things back up. Everything is fresh and made to order. Paradoxically, In-N-Out Burger has become one of the most innovative companies in America by not being innovative.
From the beginning, what customers thought about every detail of the restaurant was critically important to the company. This desire to listen closely was born of humility and an obligation to provide the best experience possible. Harry Snyder’s goal was to always serve both customers and employees. The late Rich Snyder, who succeeded his father as CEO in the early 1990s and served until he was killed in a plane crash, created an...