The Surprisingly Strict Rule In-N-Out Makes Male Employees Follow

While In-N-Out is probably most famous for their burgers and fries, you might also know their easily recognizable employee uniforms. While on the clock, each member of the burger joint's staff has to adhere to a strict dress code that contains nine distinct pieces, according to the Society for Human Resource Management: a white shirt, pants, and socks; a pair of black shoes and a belt; a hat; a red apron with a gold apron pin; and an In-N-Out name tag. The company does not permit the wearing of unsanctioned pins or stickers, but unauthorized flair is not the only uniform rule the burger restaurant is a stickler about.

In-N-Out also has fairly strict gender policies when it comes to employee uniforms, as one new employee recently discovered on the r/innnout subreddit when he made a post asking his fellow employees: "Can the guys wear the red hats?" While all employees are expected to wear a company-issued hat, the poster explained that, as a man with long hair, he would prefer to tuck his hair under In-N-Out's branded red baseball caps, rather than the white paper hats. However, he was soon informed that it was very unlikely he would be given that option.

Only female employees are allowed to wear the red hats

According to In-N-Out employees on Reddit, the red baseball hats are only permitted as part of the female employee uniform, while male staff members are expected to wear the white paper hats. Many of the In-N-Out workers were quick to inform the newer employee of this strict dress code rule. 

"No, guys can't wear the female hats unless you identify as a female and make that known to your managers," explained one Reddit user. "Official dress code is that guys must wear paper hats unless they're outside. If they're outside they can wear a hat with a brim for sun protection," posted another, who also suggested that the original poster could use bobby pins to help keep his hair secured under the paper hat while indoors. Others recommended putting long locks in a bun or cutting the sides shorter to keep it out of way while working. Some even suggested it might just be easier for male employees to simply cut their hair rather than try to tuck it all under the flimsier hats. So, although the red brimmed hats may be better for tucking away long hair, male employees are still expected to don the white paper hats while working in the In-N-Out kitchen, regardless of how long their hair is.

In-N-Out has strict standards for employee appearance

But that's not the only strict rule In-N-Out employees are expected to follow at work when it comes to appearance. The company (which was founded in California by Harry and Esther Snyder in 1948, according to the company website), is known not just for its signature burgers, but also for its warm staff, great customer service, and family friendly atmosphere. As a result, they have fairly strict all-around appearance and grooming standards for their employees.

In addition to their meticulous uniform standards, employees also have to maintain a neat, well-kept personal appearance. All male employees must be clean-shaven and keep their hair trimmed, while female employees must always tuck their hair into their hat whenever they are working, according to Delishably. No employees of either gender are allowed to have an unnatural hair color, such as blue or pink, and visible piercings are only permitted in the earlobes, with no more than two in each ear (via Indeed). For many years, the company also did not allow staff to show any visible tattoos, although that policy appears to have relaxed a bit in recent times. All of this adds up to a pretty rigid employee code, especially for a casual burger joint.

In-N-Out is reportedly a good place to work

However, for many In-N-Out employees, the strict employee dress code is worth it for the perks and benefits they receive. The chain gives employees your standard on-the-job perks, such as one free meal per eight hour shift. Delishably shares that employees may also receive extras like Christmas presents, parties, free company sponsored outings and picnics, and bonus rewards for good performance, such as paid trips and vacations.

In-N-Out has also long paid their staff a higher wage than most other burger chains, with Business Insider reporting in 2018 that part-time employees started out at an average of $13 an hour and store managers were making an average of $160,000 per year. In addition, all employees (yes, even part-time ones) receive benefits, including dental, vision, and life insurance; Profit Sharing and a 401(k) plan; and paid vacation time (via In-N-Out). In fact, in 2018, the company even received the number four spot on Glassdoor's Employees Choice Best Places To Work list, the only large restaurant chain to crack the top 50. So while expectations for In-N-Out employees may be high, the burger chain seems to have high standards for the way staff is treated as well.