What You Didn't Know About In-N-Out's Founders

In-N-Out, the iconic fast food destination, was California's first drive-thru hamburger stand. You may be surprised to learn that the first In-N-Out, opened in 1948 in Baldwin Park just outside Los Angeles, was only 10 square feet in size, per the chain's website. By the time In-N-Out celebrated its 70th anniversary, in 2018, it had 334 locations in six states. Founders Harry and Esther Synder definitely had the right idea when they opened up that first tiny drive-thru. The secret to their success was Harry's commitment to fresh, quality ingredients.

Harry Snyder met Esther Johnson in Seattle, Washington in 1947. The couple first crossed paths when Harry delivered sandwiches to a restaurant where Esther worked as a manager, according to KCET. They married, moved to Southern California, and opened that first In-N-Out. They hoped southern California's growing car culture would make their business idea work, according to the Los Angeles Times. Fortunately, their vision, hard work ethic, and a small menu with fresh ingredients paid off.

Freshness is of utmost importance at In-N-Out

In the beginning, In-N-Out founders Harry and Esther Snyder were the only employees. Harry cooked, and Esther was in charge of the accounting (via KCET). Harry always went the extra mile to do things right, and he was very clear from the start that he only wanted to serve the freshest burgers possible, according to the Los Angeles Times. Despite all the work involved, Harry only wanted the best for his customers. "Everything was going to be fresh. Harry would go to where he bought the meat, and he'd watch them cut it up and be sure he got what he ordered. He would go around at night and check on stores," Esther told the Los Angeles Times.

Harry's diligence and focus on quality definitely set In-N-Out apart and helped create fans from the beginning, knowing they could rely on a convenient and delicious hamburger whenever the craving struck. According to KCET, Harry's nephew Bob Meserve said that Harry "wanted to take the lettuce off the ground, the tomato off the vine and the onion and prepare the burger fresh right now. That was his goal."

So now you know that quality ingredients have always been an integral part of the In-N-Out dining experience. Thanks to the legacy left by founders Harry and Esther Snyder, you can rest assured that whenever you want a simple yet tasty burger, an In-N-Out location will prepare one fresh for you.