In-N-Out Burger – don’t believe the hype

I reckon In-N-Out Burger is so over-hyped! Let me be clear, it’s not that I don’t like it, or had a bad experience, it’s just not at all worth the hype people associate with it.

12 In N Out

On a recent trip to the USA, I had a long list of businesses I wanted to check out for myself, and In and Out Burger was at the top of that list. The US has a well-earned reputation in my view, for providing some exceptional franchise food concepts. It is very common to hear entrepreneurs referencing visits to the US market as a catalyst for their own concepts back home in Australia.

I’d heard of the brand over a few years, and recalled the stories of people queueing for hours to get a burger when they had ‘pop-up’ stores here in Australia.

My kids were also desperate to go to In-N-Out, and not to mention, every other Uber driver (about 6 or 7) we asked where the best burgers were – and they all (except one) said In and Out.

So, suffice to say I was expecting something pretty darn good.

“Is this all it is?”

I’ve had better, fresher burgers at just about any other burger joints popping up all over Australia. While eating my burger I couldn’t help think to myself about the people who queued for hours to have one of these. Were they disappointed but couldn’t bring themselves to say that, so they wouldn’t feel like a goose for gifting hours of their lives that they’ll never get back for just another burger?

With the fact that I am certain that waiting more than 10 mins for an In-N-Out Burger is absolutely not worth it, I still took a few things away beyond just that fact from my visit and experience.

Exceptional value pricing

I found that the US has become really expensive for food since my last visit. Sure, it’s been around 10 years since I was in LA, but, even with our low Aussie dollar removed from the equation, I am still surprised at just how expensive casual dining has become within that economy. In and Out Burger delivers in spades here with a family of five having burgers, shakes and fries each for just $38 USD. That was by far the best value sit down meal I recall in the entire trip.

12 My Visit

Fresh and clean 

In my observation from one visit, I wouldn’t say it’s particularly fast. It’s about the same as waiting for a McDonald’s meal, which has got mostly progressively slower over time. But the trade off, which I’d say is worth it, is that the meals are freshly made to order. I must have looked quite the stalker as I keenly watched the operations in the kitchen while waiting!

What stood out to me was how clean and lean the operation was. Very simple, with minimal equipment and no ‘stuff’ all over the place. When I compare what I see in a modern day McDonald’s, it’s what I imagine an earlier McDonalds in the 1950’s being more like - minus all the other bits of equipment to make the massive menu range McDonald’s now often fumbles to deliver on.

12 Kitchen Lean And Clean 12 Menu

Minimal Choice

The menu is oh so simple. And for a family with kids just craving a burger, that’s music to every parent’s ears! It’s a case of having a burger with or without cheese – that’s it…

The milkshakes are actually thickshakes 

Not much else to say here, but I’ve read through the commentary on varying news sites interviewing people from the pop-up locations across Australia over the last couple of years, and they are carrying on about how amazing the milkshakes are.


They are more like some slightly runnier soft serve with some chocolate, vanilla or strawberry flavouring I reckon! Again, not bad by any means, but seriously, hardly worth standing in line for more than 5 minutes for!

12 Dining Area

Closest burger here in Australia

In my view, if you’ve had a Betty’s Burger you’ve already eclipsed whatever you’ll get from an In-N-Out Burger. Betty’s are actually nicer (and a whole lot more expensive), and but they seem in my thinking as the like burger look, taste etc. Theirs are also that bit more ‘fancy’. This is the funny thing with brands that get hyped, as we’ve absolutely got better product sitting right in front of us, but we just can’t help ourselves I guess when it comes to some people and the buzz around In-N-Out.

Back to the ‘other’ Uber driver

As I mentioned earlier, in doing our straw poll of Uber drivers on where they thought the best burgers were, only one reckoned In-N-Out was not up to it. Interestingly, the difference with him was that we had already been days before, and I prefaced my question to him with the fact I thought it was over-hyped. He totally agreed! But then I thought, did I taint the survey, and did I finally give someone ‘permission’ to not drink the Koolaid?

I guess we’ll never know…

12 Self Serv Drinks 12 Product