Is In-N-Out's Food Actually Fresh?

Shake Shack's delicious burgers might be the favorite of New York, but when it comes to California, In-N-Out is the burger chain that reigns supreme. The fast food joint has been serving burgers to hungry folks since the 1940s and with seemingly more burger chains than ever before, fresh ingredients are key to keeping an edge. Both Five Guys and Shake Shack have made a point to let consumers know that they never use frozen beef, and even McDonald's has been trying improve its meat game.

So just how fresh is the food at In-N-Out — and is super fresh always a good thing?

Minimal items on the menu helps keep ingredients fresh

The more items a restaurant has on its menu, the more suppliers they have to keep track of, and that can make always securing fresh ingredients more difficult (via QSR). For In-N-Out, it's about keeping things simple — especially the beef. Just like some of its esteemed peers, In-N-Out refuses to use frozen beef, and in 2016 announced that it would begin moving towards using beef raised without antibiotics (via The Guardian).

"I think they recognize that In-N-Out customers really do care about quality, and in order to maintain their brand as a quality burger, they need to lead on this issue," program manager of Friends of the Earth, Kari Hamerschlag, said. The group was part of a coalition that pushed In-N-Out to make the move. 

Part of what makes those In-N-Out burgers taste so fresh and delicious is the company's commitment to using good produce. Employees slice and dice the onions and tomatoes every morning, and the lettuce doesn't come pre-shredded in a bag. 

So the burgers are fresh, but what about those In-N-Out fries?

The fries are fresh too, but that may have a drawback

People love the burgers at In-N-Out, but the chain's fries seem to be a little less popular. According to In-N-Out's website, the "fries come from the finest, freshest potatoes." Hmm, alright. "They're shipped right from the farm, individually cut in our stores, and then cooked in 100% sunflower oil."  

Celebrity Netflix chef David Chang sees things a little differently, though, and told an audience that In-N-Out's fries were "garbage" because they were harvesting potatoes at the wrong time of the year. Even if that is the case, those fries aren't coming into the stores frozen, but they're sliced and cooked in-house. We'd say that makes the food at In-N-Out pretty fresh.