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

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9780061346729: In-N-Out Burger: A Behind-the-Counter Look at the Fast-Food Chain That Breaks All the Rules

“This book grills up an enjoyable read for both avid foodies and novice diners alike! Perman’s sneak peek into the fascinating history of In-N-Out is as good as the delicious burgers themselves.”

—Mario Batali, celebrity chef and author of Molto Italiano

A behind-the-counter look at the fast-food chain that breaks all the rules, Stacy Perman’s In-N-Out Burger is the New York Times bestselling inside story of the family behind the California-based hamburger chain with a cult following large enough to rival the Grateful Dead’s. A juicy unauthorized history of a small business-turned-big business titan, In-N-Out Burger was named one of Fast Company magazine’s Best Business Books of 2009, and  Fortune Small Business insists that it “should be required reading for family business owners, alongside Rich Cohen’s Sweet and Low and Thomas Mann’s Buddenbrooks.”

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Review:

Amazon Best of the Month, April 2009: With In-N-Out Burger: A Behind-the-Counter Look at the Fast-Food Chain That Breaks All the Rules, BusinessWeek writer Stacy Perman presents a chronicle of how a family-run California hamburger joint went on to become an American pop culture icon. Founded in 1948 by Harry Snyder and his wife Esther in Baldwin Park, CA, In-N-Out Burger attracted a cult-like fanbase of cruising teens, surfers, and celebrities alike (who developed a secret shorthand for custom orders). As they expanded slowly over the years across California and into Nevada, Arizona, and Utah, they never sacrificed their core customer-service values and commitment to quality. Their made-to-order success story packs enough family drama to fuel an HBO miniseries. After Harry died in 1976, his son Rich took over the business (and was responsible for adding discreet Bible verses to In-N-Out cups and wrappers) until his death in a 1993 plane crash. His brother Guy, a drag-racing rebel with a dark side, stepped in to helm the business until his accidental overdose in 1999. If you've never had an In-N-Out burger, Perman's book just might inspire you to find a good reason to get yourself to Southern California and seek out an off-the-menu 3x3 with a side of Animal Style fries. --Brad Thomas Parsons


Author Stacy Perman's Guide to In-N-Out Burger's "Secret Menu"
Except for the addition of 7-Up and Dr. Pepper, In-N-Out Burger's menu has remained much as it was when the chain opened its first drive-thru in Baldwin Park, California in 1948. However, at some point in time, a "secret menu" emerged. Something of an insider's code, it is an off-menu series of variations on the chain's standard fare (Double-Double, hamburger, cheeseburger, and french fries) that has been passed on entirely by word-of-mouth through the years.

Although the "secret menu's" origins remain a mystery, part of its existence can be explained by the fact that In-N-Out Burger has always insisted on cooking-to-order each individual burger any way a customer wanted it prepared. Over time, several of these variations gained traction and somewhere along the way a number of them were given their own names. While frequently steeped in rumor and apocryphal tales the "secret menu" is almost always used by those In-N-Out customers in the know.

These are the most popular "secret menu" items. In-N-Out Burger has listed them on their website (and even trademarked their names):
Double Meat: Two beef patties, lettuce, tomato, spread, (optional onions) on a toasted bun.
3x3: Three beef patties, lettuce, tomato, sauce, three slices of American cheese, (optional onions) on a toasted bun.
4x4: Four beef patties, lettuce, tomato, sauce, four slices of American cheese, (optional onions) on a toasted bun.
Grilled Cheese: Two slices of melted American cheese, lettuce, tomato, sauce, (optional onions) on a toasted bun.
Protein Style: Any burger served sans bun and wrapped in lettuce.
Animal Style: Any burger with mustard cooked beef, lettuce, tomato, extra sauce, pickle, and grilled onions on a toasted bun. (Note: the Grilled Cheese can also be prepared Animal Style)

A few more "secret" variations that have made the rounds for those in the know:
X x Y: Any number of beef patties with corresponding slices of American cheese (note on one memorable Halloween evening in Las Vegas a group of friends famously ordered and consumed a 100x100).
Flying Dutchman: beef patty or patties and American cheese slice(s) no vegetables or bun.
Veggie Burger (sometimes called a Wish Burger): no beef or cheese, just lettuce, tomato, or (optional) onions on a toasted bun.
Extra Everything: just like it sounds--extra sauce, tomato, lettuce, and onions served grilled or raw.
Chopped Chilies: mild chopped peppers are added to any burger.

The "secret menu" also extends to a variety of french fry variations:
Animal Style Fries: an order of fries slathered in melted American cheese, sauce, and grilled onions.
Fries Light: reduced cooking time resulting in softer, chewier french fries.
Fries Well-Done: increased cooking time resulting in crispier, browner french fries.
Cheese Fries: french fries bathed in melted American cheese.
Onion Variations:
The usual scenario is a whole slice of fresh onion cooked with the burger but In-N-Out will serve onions grilled, raw, and chopped if asked.

For those really in the know:
If you ask an associate at the counter they will give you a serving of yellow chili peppers.
Pickles are added only upon request.

From the Back Cover:

The untold story of the renegade burger chain that evokes a passionate following unlike any other

In fast-food corporate America, In-N-Out Burger stands apart. Begun in a tiny shack in the shadow of World War II, this family-owned chain has steadfastly refused to franchise or be sold. Over time, In-N-Out Burger has become nothing less than a cultural institution that can lay claim to an insanely loyal following.

Stacy Perman's In-N-Out Burger is the inside story behind a real American success story—not only a tale of a unique and profitable business but also of a family's struggle to maintain a sustainable pop empire against the industry it helped pioneer. A keenly observed narrative that explores the transformation of a California fad into an enduring cult of popularity, it is also the story of the conflicted, secretive, and ultimately tragic Snyder family, who cooked a billion burgers and hooked a zillion fans.

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