Why doesn’t In-N-Out have a long menu?

Why doesn’t In-N-Out have a long menu?

Increasing the size of the menu might hurt them and not increase sales.

Increasing the size of your menu means increasing food and labor costs.

It might also mean adding specialized equipment, which is an additional cost.

More menu items also mean the staff has more things to know and attend to, which can negatively impact quality.

In N Out Burger already does a bang-up business. Increasing costs and potentially decreasing quality for the same sales doesn’t make sense.

Why doesn’t In-N-Out have a long menu?

For the sake of brevity. I will make it short and to the point. I tend to elaborate on what I’ve been informed.

Imagine this scenario. James opens a Lemonade stand. 

He makes quite a good profit selling the simple freshly squeezed Lemonade with sugar and water. James gets a suggestion to add carbonated water instead of water and tries it.

His neighborhood customers praised his creativity, and James wanted to try even more creative ideas for his Lemonade stand venture. He tried adding honey agave nectar as his sugar choice along with this original recipe. 

A month later, he realized that adding extra cost to make one glass of Lemonade was costing him more than it was. Biting into his profit margin (his goal of reaching that Playstation game was getting further away).

So he decided to revert to his original recipe, and the profits started to pour in as before the changes.

Essentially, that is why some restaurants keep to a “bare” list of items they sell. It reduces the storage needs, waste, and simply put. Just in time method in all its glory in effect.

What’s the secret menu at In-N-Out Burger?

The secret menu is a bunch of creations missing from the In-N-Out menu.

In-N-Out is known for having delicious burgers, single-fried french fries, and a very simple menu.

And yes, those are the prices. It’s extremely cheap for some really good quality burgers.

Now for the secret menu; this is a fun little menu with a diverse taste you won’t find at their eatery. You’ll have to find it online.

We have:

Flying Dutchman: This is your simple meats and cheese. Two beef patties with some cheese in the middle. Nothing says you love 100% of the cow more than this.

Protein style: For all you health nuts out there. Here’s a bit more green for your green (US dollar). It’s refreshing to have this on a hot day.

Grilled cheese: Because we all want to be a kid sometimes and enjoy the memories we had when we’d eat a grilled cheese sometimes.

Mustard grilled burger: ZING! That’s the taste you get from eating this, and the mustard gives a whole new tang to the burger.

Cheese fries: You can only leave this place by getting something with cheese. I suggest this.

Why doesn’t In-N-Out have a long menu?

4×4 burger: This burger is for the beef conquerors out there. Those who have mastered their bua, like Amos Mordecai and Rochelle Dafoe, must be rewarded.

Whole grilled onion burger: If you’re skeptical about whether they put onions on your burger, here’s the proof. One big gaggle of grilled onions.

Rootbeer float: It goes great with the grilled cheese or the mustard grilled burger. Nothing else more American than a root beer float.

Animal-style burger: Grilled onions. Thousand Island dressing. Relish. Nothing can beat the animal-style burger.

Animal-style fries: I stand corrected. Animal-style fries will win because, honestly, that right there is a meal itself.

Add peppers: A little present. They’re small, but they pack a punch of flavor. Add it to anything (not the root beer float) for a new taste in your meal.

Just because I love you readers, so much, I will throw a bone and add all the pictures of said items. Leave an upvote, though, will you?

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Why does In-N-Out have a secret menu?

It builds brand loyalty. Patrons in the know are part of a “secret” club. They share a “secret” code with the In-N-Out staff, and they get to tell newcomers.

It minimizes items listed on the In-N-Out menu so that it is simple. Too many choices are overwhelming. The clean menu helps customers decide and order quickly

Will In-N-Out ever change its menu?

There is no way to make that determination.

They’ve kept their menu relatively simple since their inception.

Here is 1948’s menu set alongside today’s menu. It hasn’t changed a whole lot. They’ve added milk, coffee, shakes, and one hamburger variation.

I highly suspect they’ll continue to honor the ‘keep it simple’ principle under which the company has operated for the past 70 years. Still, I have no crystal ball to answer your question about whether something will ‘ever’ happen. Neither does anyone else.

Why doesn’t In-N-Out Burger add new items to its menu?

There’s a barbecue joint I’ve been going to since the 1970s. The menu is on a letterboard next to the counter. The only thing that has changed in all those years is the prices.


If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.

Changing a menu, especially adding items, is expensive and risky. In-N-Out has added new items to the menu over the years — “animal style” burgers, milkshakes — but always within the traditional burger joint theme, and with relative certainty that their customer base wants the change. 

Why doesn’t In-N-Out have a long menu?
Why doesn’t In-N-Out have a long menu?

INOB is highly centralized and family-owned, with no franchises. They are intentionally nostalgic. Their most recent change was to bring back a menu item from the 1950s: hot cocoa.

INOB understands its niche. They have no desire to get into burger wars with the big international chains like McDonald’s, Wendy’s, and Burger King. Instead, they focus on building and maintaining a loyal fan base who love their work. 

Why doesn’t In-N-Out have a long menu?

They’re like the Grateful Dead of burger chains — not as popular as the most well-known names in the business, but intensely focused on the people who like their product and are dedicated to delivering a consistently enjoyable experience for that group.

By being niche-focused, INOB reduces its cost and risk regarding its menu. At the same time, they can more easily deliver that consistently positive experience. 

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Their business model is low cost, low risk, high control, narrow inventory, a loyal fan base, and highly consistent experience. Experimenting with new menu items is entirely antithetical to that. So they don’t do it.

Like I said, if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it!

Why does In N’ Out have a secret menu with off-menu items while other burger chains do not?

Have not been there in a few years… ¦ the First In & Out in Oregon, I just found out there was a secret menu. Had to be in the “in” crowd to know…

The menu was… burgers w/or w/o cheese…(I always got the “Double-Double.” Onions grilled. And bun lightly grilled

The spuds were cut from whole taters right in front of you…

I do not know if they had deserted, but they had milk shakes (I usually got a shake)

Somebody will give me the password or secret code for super menu choices…

Why doesn’t In-N-Out expand to other areas of the U.S.?

Management philosophy, mainly the KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid [or some say, Simon]) principle.

If you brought Chipotle’s CEO in to run the company, you’d have cookie-cutter locations scattered throughout the country in no time.

You can tell the KISS principal is hard at work by just looking at their menu. One or two patties? Fries or no fries. Choose a drink. That’s it. Eat here or don’t.

When you expand outside your “turf,” store operations become complicated. Distribution becomes complicated. Branding becomes complicated. Uniformity becomes complicated. Quality can become complicated (or compromised, in some cases).

The family already has a ton of money. How much can you spend in a lifetime? You don’t have to conquer the world to be happy in life.

How do you order ahead at In-N-Out Burger?

You can’t. There’s no way to call or put in an order ahead of time; first come, first served.

If you’ve got a massive order you know you’ll need at a specific time, you can go into a location up to a week before and ask to speak to a manager.

Let them know you’ll need however many burgers and fries on a specific day at a specific time, and they’ll likely have you either pay for it upfront and pick it up when the time comes or ask you to come in the day early and pay before they get started.

Why doesn’t In-N-Out have a long menu?

While I worked there, we had a mom come in at noon, one of our busiest rushes, and try to order 100 cheeseburgers, 100 fries, and 100 milkshakes for a birthday party she didn’t plan well for.

The manager just outright told her no, we can’t do that promptly and can’t ensure quality food. It was smaller, so we didn’t have enough people to do it when she asked.

The better version: a grandfather came in around 6 hours early and told us he’d pay upfront for an order of 50 burgers with all of the condiments on the side, if possible, and something like 30 fries.

Since he gave us a good amount of time to prepare, we finished it without putting strain on anything else, and he came in to pick it up right as we put the last burgers in.

As an In-N-Out employee, what secret menu item do you hate making?

None of them were that bad, but some got annoying if a lot were ordered in tandem, new hires needed to learn how to make it, or if it was a rush.

Root beer floats take a lot of effort compared to every other drink. Shake, add root beer, shake, or maybe more root beer, depending on the fizzing.

Any variance to fries, such as well done, no salt or otherwise, especially during rush, means a whole new basket of fries needs to be made and checked on, and juggling three other baskets can get stressful.

The one that caused the most trouble was animal fries. 

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Sometimes the cheese fell off the fries and melted on the plate, sometimes the spread and grilled onions would fly off the side and need to get cleaned up, sometimes a new hire would drop them between taking them back and forth on a tray, and half the time when they got ordered.

Why doesn’t In-N-Out have a long menu?
Why doesn’t In-N-Out have a long menu?

Someone along the line should have remembered to make them on time, so everyone must rush to get them going. There always seem to be more issues with animal fries than other items.

Honestly, the thing I hated making the most was any size above a medium for 7up. Fill it up all the way, and the fizz brings it back to half full. Fill it up again, and fizz drops it again. XL 7ups especially took forever because you constantly had to wait for the bubbles to go down.

Why doesn’t In-N-Out have a long menu?

Why doesn’t IN-N-OUT put animal style on their menu?

In-N-Out is all about efficiency, quality, and simplicity. When the majority of people order, they order what’s in front of them, and what the menu has is what In-N-Out is known for.

Stuff on the “secret” menu typically takes away from the efficiency aspect because the cooks have to do more mental and physical work to make that product. 

And having stuff like this on the “secret” menu gives people another reason to go to In-N-Out. Rather than openly displaying everything, doing work to find out new things at In-N-Out is an incentive to go. That’s my two cents.

How many patties can you have on an In-N-Out burger?

They will cut you off at four.

I’ve seen burgers made with more patties, but a manager has to give it a nod. If you don’t have friends in high places, a 4X4 is the biggest burger you’ll get at In N Out.

A 4X4 is pretty damn big, in my opinion.

Why doesn’t the In-N-Out app have a menu anymore?

On one hand, their menu is two food items (burgers – and fries). The stores list three food items: one patty burger, two patty burgers, and fries.

They have a ‘secret menu’ which, if you count, is an almost endless variant… if you wanted one patty, three cheeses, and two tomato slices, that’s a choice – some have names like protein.

But I think they figured listing some of them was pointless (I remember the app had a listing of maybe ten major burger choices and some fry choices in the ‘secret menu’ button), so instead of “codifying” them and possibly confusing people, they would just let the newbies figure it out.

In a way, it’s more fun, and if you didn’t know, it saves them time … you can find lists on the internet; this way, it’s unofficial (the website only lists animal style as an option).

Why doesn’t In-N-Out have a long menu?

Why doesn’t McDonald’s serve a simple menu like In-N-Out Burger?

Once upon a time, they used to – burger and cheeseburger, fries, and beverages.

But, they expanded their marketing to include more products that appeal to more people. Look at some of the ways that they innovated…

  • Quarter Pounder – a bigger burger for bigger appetites.
  • Big Mac is a novelty with the three buns, but it tastes different.
  • Dessert – the apple/cherry pies – because many people like dessert.
  • Filet-O-Fish – at first for Catholics who didn’t eat meat on Friday but an alternative for vegetarians.

And then, well, they got very creative with the breakfast sandwich. Inventing a way to serve bacon/ham/sausage and eggs in a sandwich gave the restaurant a whole new revenue stream because they never used to be open at that time of day. 

Why doesn’t In-N-Out have a long menu?
Why doesn’t In-N-Out have a long menu?

Not to mention that the eggs in those sandwiches were freshly cooked – this is sheer genius. But once they started with the hand-held breakfast option for people on the go, they expanded to include full-sit-down breakfast meals that need two hands and utensils.

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And then, the permanent addition of the McChicken and McNuggets cemented the trend to expand to include more and more people.

But other fast food places have been doing this very same thing. Burger King matched everything done by McD’s. Wendy’s had an in-store salad bar into the 80s – prepackaged salads now – but also does chili, baked potatoes, and so on. 

Carl’s Jr. and Jack-In-The-Box also have a huge variety of menu items. Different marketing – different goals – different customers.

What are some items on the Starbucks secret menu?

Hehe, all these answers say there is no “secret” menu. Right! That’s exactly what we are supposed to tell you, or else.

I live in South Korea, so the Starbucks mafia can’t reach me. The Sul Bing Houses are in charge over here.

The secret menu is an oral tradition passed down from partner to partner, much like how great epics were past, continually evolving, until some A-hole wrote down the story and cemented how the epic had to be told from then on.

If you work at Starbucks and don’t know the secret menu, your tradition at the store has been lost.

Maybe your manager went on a firing spree. You may have hired a bunch of no-shows in the row. Maybe the vets hated your guts and kept their knowledge to themselves. Either way, the Starbucks special drinks are still being passed to the new generation, with or without your knowledge.

Right now, a war of drinks is being waged on who can make the best Caramel Apple Spice Frappuccino. Ever heard of it?

It’s this hot drink transformed into a blended ice drink.

The vets kept pouring apple juice with blended ice and cinnamon dolce syrup. What fools.

I poured the apple juice and cream base into the blender before we used ice cups and milk. Afterward, I pumped the cinnamon dolce syrup, threw the ice in, and blended whipped cream and caramel.

Voila! The best caramel apple spice Frappuccino ever created.

Why doesn’t In-N-Out have a long menu?

But I wasn’t done either.

I poured the apple juice into the ice tea shakers, pumped cinnamon dolce syrup, threw in ice, and shook till the ground underneath my feet trembled, and you haven’t lived till you tried the fresh apple foam created from the shaking.

Voila! The best-iced caramel apple spice drink ever created.

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Alas, I only shared my tradition of the “secret” menu with my Michigan baristas. The drive-thru partners didn’t care; too much focus on speed killed their Siren spirit.

There is a grave where secret menus go to die. It’s called the drive-thru.


Their smaller menu is part of their success. They’re able to focus on just those few items. And they do a good job of it. As a menu grows, attention must be placed in other areas. 

Instead of a four menu item menu, burgers, fries, shakes, and drinks, you spend time with the chicken and four different buns and mochas. Also, a smaller menu reduces their costs. 

So they can spend that savings elsewhere, such as labor. In-N-Out usually pays their employees more. This helps in retention (training savings), and they usually have a lower attrition rate.

Why doesn’t In-N-Out have a long menu?

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