Earlier this week, I was driving back home from a meeting in East Contra Costa. It was way past dinner time and I was hungry.
Then off to the side of Highway 4 in Pittsburg, there it was, blazing in the night: the sign with that golden arrow. It beckoned me to pull off the highway and fuel up on a fresh, made-to-order burger and naturally cooked fries.
For a couple weeks, my co-workers and I have been craving an In-N-Out lunch, and grousing about how we’d have to drive all the way to San Ramon to satisfy our needs. No, we didn’t want a burger from George’s, or the Counter, or Hubcaps—even though all serve very fine burgers.
We wanted In-N-Out. There’s just nothing like the In-N-Out experience, right? My co-workers tried to draft me into running down to San Ramon yesterday to pick up burgers, and I would have, but, alas, it was early dismissal at my son’s school and I had to run out at lunchtime to bring him home.
Now, before the anti-chain and anti-fast-food-chain restaurant people get on my case, or representatives from the Walnut Creek Wellness City Challenge get out their pitchforks, let me remind you that In-N-Out has attracted fierce loyalty among customers, including big-time foodies. None other than Thomas Keller is a fan of In-N-Out. Yeah, the French Laundry chef and owner. He’s, like, one of the most famous chefs in the world.
From Via magazine: Why Thomas Keller Loves In-N-Out Burger
I really respect a company that holds its ground when there is so much pressure to follow the “what’s next, what’s new” trend. In-N-Out’s quality lies in the simplicity of what it promises and delivers. To be able to do something over and over with integrity and excellence, even if it is fast food, is something to be truly admired.
What Keller doesn’t mention is that In-N-Out, founded in 1948, is still a family-owned company that continues to hold to this philosophy: “Give customers the freshest, highest quality foods you can buy and provide them with friendly service in a sparkling clean environment.”
We’ve heard that an In-N-Out might be going into Pleasant Hill. That’s great for Pleasant Hill. But how about we get one here? Hey, City Council folks, if this Neiman Marcus thing doesn’t work out … how about going after In-N-Out?