Here's How In-N-Out Burger Got Its Name

The fast food hamburger chain In-N-Out Burger isn't as well-known in the U.S. as beefy behemoths like McDonald's or Burger King since most of its 376 locations are concentrated in the West, but it has definitely garnered a devoted fan base. Multiple celebrities are In-N-Out Burger fanatics (via Orange Coast), and many others like to go there after awards shows (via People).

The company's name originates to its 1948 founding and the concept for the business, which was novel at the time. In the late 1940s, most fast restaurants used a customer service method that employed carhops, where servers would come outside (possibly while wearing roller skates), take orders from, and bring food to people parked in their cars, according to Rewind & Capture.

Founders Harry and Esther Snyder envisioned a more efficient way of serving people that involved picking up In-N-Out's delicious burgers to go while eliminating the parking aspect of carhop culture.

In-N-Out is a drive-thru pioneer

To see their idea to fruition, Harry created a two-way speaker box that allowed customers to order directly from their cars and get "in and out" and on their way quickly and conveniently. His idea led to the creation of the first drive-thru restaurant in California, and inspired the moniker In-N-Out Burger, according to Rewind & Capture. This innovation, in addition to In-N-Out Burger's focus on quality products, helped contribute to its steady growth and rabid following that also includes A-list celebrity chefs (via Work + Money), but has also kept it a mostly regional chain.

Despite being the first drive-thru in California, In-N-Out Burger is not the earliest example of a drive-thru restaurant. That is reputed to be Red's Giant Hamburg, which opened a drive-thru in 1947 at its location along Route 66 in Springfield, Missouri, reports Money. It's not recognized as the oldest operating drive-thru, however, because Red's closed in 1984. Then In-N-Out Burger gained the superlative of "longest running burger drive-thru."

If you can't readily access an In-N-Out Burger based on your geography and find yourself craving one of its burgers, here's a copycat recipe of the chain's standout double-double burger. Since the full official ingredient list is a closely guarded food trade secret, ours is not an exact replica, but it's about as close an approximation to the original as one can get.