18 Mouthwatering Facts About In-N-Out Burger

Jared721, Flickr // CC BY NA 2.0
Jared721Flickr // CC BY NA 2.0

There's more to the beloved Californian burger chain than Double-Doubles and their secret and not-so-secret menus. We'll bet even you regulars and superfans don't know some of these.

1. IN-N-OUT WAS CREATED BY A COUPLE OF NEWLYWEDS.

Our founders, Harry and Esther Snyder with their sons, Guy and Rich.

A photo posted by In-N-Out Burger (@innout) on

When it opened in October 1948, In-N-Out was California’s first drive-thru hamburger stand; its founders, Harry and Esther Snyder, were newly married. Harry was known to visit the local Baldwin Park markets every morning to pick up fresh ingredients, and Esther was in charge of the accounting.

2. IN-N-OUT REVOLUTIONIZED FAST FOOD.

In-N-Out is credited as the first chain to have a two-way speaker system for drive-thru ordering. The forward-thinking Harry installed the intercom system in 1948 so that you truly could get "in and out" of his tiny hamburger shack in a hurry. Until that point, drive-ins with carhops who took your order and delivered your food were the norm.

3. THAT YELLOW ARROW WASN'T ALWAYS THERE.

Our original "No Delay" sign.

A photo posted by In-N-Out Burger (@innout) on

The iconic large yellow arrow on the logo first appeared in 1954, replacing the original “No Delay” sign.

4. THEY DIDN'T SERVE FOUNTAIN SODA FOR THE FIRST DECADE. 

In 1958, the company added fountain soda to the menu, replacing the bottles they had been selling for a decade. A 12-ounce drink was only 10 cents, and you could actually choose between Coke and Pepsi in the same location!

5. 'X' ACTUALLY MARKS THE SPOT.

Matt Northam, Flickr // CC BY NC ND 2.0

In 1972, Harry Snyder introduced the crossed palm trees that stand outside most In-N-Out locations. The idea came from the 1963 movie It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, where the characters hunt for a buried treasure hidden beneath four crossed palms.

6. THE COMPANY HAS A LONG ASSOCIATION WITH DRAG RACING.

From Harry Snyder's 50 percent investment in a new track in Irwindale in 1965 (where his burgers were sold in the concession stands) to Harry and Esther’s only grandchild (and heiress) Lynsi Snyder’s occasional trips out on the track, In-N-Out is a mainstay name around drag racing. According to the National Hot Rod Association, Lynsi has competed in the Super Gas and Top Sportsman Division 7 categories. "I like an adrenaline rush," Lynsi said last year. "My dad took me to the racetrack for the first time when I was 2 or 3. … Anything with a motor, that was in my blood." Lynsi, who has taken auto mechanic classes, often works on her own cars. 

7. IN-N-OUT EVEN HAD A CAR.

 J. Michael Raby, Flickr // CC-NC-ND 2.0

The company sponsored drag racer Melanie Troxel in 2010.

8. IN-N-OUT HAS ITS OWN "UNIVERSITY."

Don Barrett, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Established in 1984, the university’s classes aimed to train service staff and managers on how to maintain quality across the board. According to Bloomberg Business, roughly 80 percent of the chain’s store managers rose through the ranks to become career team members.

9. "LOVE WALKS IN" AN IN-N-OUT.

Getty Images

Van Halen’s chart-topping 1986 album 5150 was fueled by In-N-Out burgers. "When I first joined the band, we must have eaten there at least three days a week," Sammy Hagar told Stacy Perman for her 2009 book In-N-Out Burger: A Behind-the-Counter Look at the Fast-Food Chain That Breaks All the Rules. "We were in the studio recording 5150, and we'd send someone to go get food, and we'd talk about sushi or pizza and always end up with In-N-Out."

10. MANY CELEBS LOVE IN-N-OUT.

Speaking of famous fans, high-brow chef Julia Child once told Larry King that In-N-Out was "awfully good," and she reportedly kept a list of store locations in her purse. And, famously, Paris Hilton explained away a DUI arrest in 2006 by telling Ryan Seacrest, "I was just really hungry and I wanted to have an In-N-Out burger!"

11. THEIR JINGLE IS SUPER CATCHY.

You can even get an In-N-Out Burger ringtone

12. THERE ARE HIDDEN BIBLE VERSES ON THEIR PACKAGING.

BonzoESC, Flickr // CC NC 2.0

The chain discretely prints Bible verses on the bottom of their cups and wrappers, though they’ve never discussed the inclusion publicly. The Snyders' son Rich, who ran the company after Harry’s death, began the practice in the late ‘80s, telling the company’s spokesman "It’s just something I want to do."

Around Christmas 1991, Snyder, a born-again Christian, aired a radio ad that said, "Ask Jesus to come and live in your heart today. Choose life by choosing Jesus. In-N-Out Burger wishes you a full and abundant life forever." The company took some flak for the ad.

13. LYNSI DOESN'T DISCUSS HER PERSONAL LIFE BECAUSE SHE'S WORRIED ABOUT OUTSIDE THREATS.

The In-N-Out president and heiress says she’s almost been kidnapped twice.

14. ALL OF THE IN-N-OUT HEIRS WORKED IN THE BACK.

Rich and Guy Snyder

A photo posted by In-N-Out Burger (@innout) on

Harry and Esther made their two sons, Guy and Rich, do entry-level work so that they wouldn't be spoiled. And even though she would own the company by the time she was 24, Guy's daughter Lynsi’s first job at In-N-Out was in the kitchen at a new store in Redding. "She started out like everyone else in prep work, coring tomatoes, peeling potatoes, and slicing onions," Orange Coast Magazine reported last year. "'Of course, I would cry every time,' she recalls with a laugh. Nevertheless, 'I was really excited to work there, because it was the family business. It was fun, and I thought it would make my dad happy.'"

15. IN-N-OUT HAS MADE A LOT OF MONEY.

Lynsi is potentially America’s youngest female billionaire (emphasis on potentially). But even if she’s not an actual billionaire yet, she might get there when she inherits full control of the company’s trusts when she turns 35.

16. HARRY WAS ON ATKINS BEFORE IT WAS A THING.

Neeta Lind via Flickr // CC BY 2.0

The "protein burger" on the Secret Menu is just the meat wrapped in lettuce, but it’s not a fad addition. Back in the ‘70s, Harry Snyder began ditching the bun because he was dieting. "Some people think that the protein burger came about recently because of all the Atkins dieters," general manager Carl Van Fleet said in 2004, "but it’s been around since the late 1970s."

17. IN-N-OUT ISN'T ABOUT TO START CHANGING ITS MENU.

cormac70, Flickr // CC BY NC-ND-2.0

Once in a generation, something new might officially be added to the menu. The only item Lynsi has added is sweet tea—and that's only in the newer Texas locations. The only other major menu addition of the past two decades? They started serving Dr. Pepper in 1996.

18. THE EAST COAST IS JUST NEVER GOING TO GET AN IN-N-OUT

In 2010, College Humor played a mean April Fools’ prank on New Yorkers by convincing passersby that In-N-Out was opening a location in the city. But because the company has such strict quality-control measures, they have a policy of not opening restaurants further than 500 miles from their in-house commissaries.

20 Attempts to Describe the Taste of Durian, the World’s Smelliest Fruit

iStock.com/Worradirek
iStock.com/Worradirek

The durian is a beloved delicacy in Malaysia, Singapore, and other parts of Southeast Asia. Its taste and smell, however, take some getting used to. The creamy fruit is notoriously potent—in fact, it’s so smelly that Singapore’s public transit systems tell passengers not to bring them onto subways or buses. And yet, despite its stinky reputation, it can be found practically everywhere: In curries, cakes, and even ice cream. For visitors, biting into the fruit can be an utterly confusing and contradictory experience. Here are some outsider opinions from the past 400 years.

1. “The flesh is as white as snow, exceeds in delicacy of taste of all our best European fruits, and none of ours can approach it.” —Jacques de Bourges, 17th Century Missionary

2. “Comparisons have been made with the civet cat, sewage, stale vomit, onions, and cheese; while one disaffected visitor to Indonesia declared that the eating of the flesh was not much different from having to consume used surgical swabs.” —The Oxford Companion to Food

3. “Tastes lightly sweet and deeply musky.” —Frommer’s Guide to Malaysia

4. “[I]ts odor is best described as pig-sh*t, turpentine and onions, garnished with a gym sock. It can be smelled from yards away.” —Richard Sterling, food writer

5. "To eat it seems to be the sacrifice of self-respect.” —Bayard Taylor, 19th-century Journalist

6. “To anyone who doesn’t like durian it smells like a bunch of dead cats. But as you get to appreciate durian, the smell is not offensive at all. It’s attractive. It makes you drool like a mastiff.” —Bob Halliday, Bangkok-based food writer

7. “Vomit-flavoured custard.” —The Rough Guide to Malaysia, Singapore & Brunei

8. “The smell of rotten eggs is so overwhelming. I suppress a gag reaction as I take a bite.” —Robb Walsh, food writer

9. “Like all the good things in Nature … durian is indescribable. It is meat and drink and an unrivalled delicacy besides, and you may gorge to repletion and never have cause for penitence. It is the one case where Nature has tried her hand at the culinary art and beaten all the CORDON BLEUE out of heaven and earth.” —a "good friend" of Edmund J. Banfield, Australian Naturalist, as quoted in Banfield's 1911 book My Tropic Isle

10. “[Has a] sewer-gas overtone.” —Maxine E. McBrinn, Anthropologist

11. “Like pungent, runny French cheese … Your breath will smell as if you’d been French kissing your dead grandmother.” —Anthony Bourdain, Chef and Host of Parts Unknown

12. “On first tasting it, I thought it like the flesh of some animal in a state of putrefaction, but after four or five trials I found the aroma exquisite.” —Henri Mouhot, French Naturalist, in Travels in the Central Parts of Indo-China: Siam, Cambodia, and Laos, During the Years 1858, 1859, and 1860

13. “[Like] eating ice cream in an outhouse.” —As reported in Jerry Hopkins's Strange Foods

14. “I must say that I have never tasted anything more delicious. But not everyone can enjoy or appreciate this strange fruit for the disgusting smell that distinguishes it and that is apt to cause nausea to a weak stomach. Imagine to have under your nose a heap of rotten onion and you will still have but a faint idea of the insupportable odour which emanates from these trees and when its fruit is opened the offensive smell becomes even stronger.” —Giovanni Battista Cerruti, Italian Explorer, in 1908's My Friends the Savages

15. “It tastes like completely rotten mushy onions.” —Andrew Zimmern, Host of Bizarre Foods

16. “Like eating raspberry blancmange in the lavatory.” —Anthony Burgess, Novelist

17. “A rich custard highly flavored with almonds gives the best general idea of it, but there are occasional wafts of flavor that call to mind cream-cheese, onion-sauce, sherry-wine, and other incongruous dishes." —Alfred Russel Wallace, 19th-century British Naturalist

18. “You will either be overcome, seduced by its powerful, declarative presence, or reject it outright. And run screaming." —Monica Tan, The Guardian Journalist

19. “Carrion in custard.” —A “Governor of the Straits” quoted in 1903's Hobson-Jobson: A glossary of colloquial Anglo-Indian words and phrases, and of kindred terms, etymological, historical, geographical and discursive

20. “Yes, I freely admit that when ripe it can smell like a dead animal. Yes, the fruit is difficult to handle, bearing likeness to a medieval weapon. But get down to the pale yellow, creamy flesh, and you’ll experience overtones of hazelnut, apricot, caramelized banana and egg custard. That’s my attempt at describing durian. But words fail; there is no other fruit like it.” —Thomas Fuller, New York Times Journalist

What Is Nougat?

iStock.com/InaTs
iStock.com/InaTs

If you've ever had a Snickers, Three Musketeers, or Milky Way bar, you know what nougat tastes like. The sweet, creamy concoction can range in texture from chewy to fluffy, and it is the star ingredient in many popular candy bars. But aside from being delicious, what is nougat exactly?

In its simplest form, nougat is made of two basic ingredients: egg whites and a sweetener, traditionally sugar or honey. The signature texture comes from how it's prepared. Like a meringue, eggs and sugar are whipped together quickly until the mixture is aerated and stiff.

Nougat predates mass-produced candy bars, with the confection originating in the Middle East around the 8th century. It spread to southern Europe and gained widespread popularity in 17th-century France. Nougat is still a common component in many Middle Eastern desserts today, and torrone, a type of nougat containing nuts like almonds and pistachios, is enjoyed in Italy around Christmastime.

As more large candy companies have embraced nougat, its quality has suffered over the years, with corn syrup often standing in for the sweetener. But you don't need to head to the candy aisle of your local supermarket to get your nougat fix. If you have eggs and honey in your kitchen, you can make nougat at home today.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

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