Why In-N-Out Once Sued A YouTuber For $25,000

In-N-Out Burger is a fast-food joint that has amassed over 300 locations across 7 states since it opened in 1948, along with a cult following that McDonald's could only dream of. It is a restaurant so devoted to quality that they once closed an entire state's locations because management felt the buns were not up to par. This level of consistency, character, and devotion has made In-N-Out one of the most beloved fast-food chains in the country among citizens and celebrities alike.

With great love comes great attention, and sometimes with great attention comes a pesky publicity problem. Throughout its history, In-N-Out burger has had to deal with some troublemakers. There were lighthearted instances, like the 2018 lawsuit involving San Francisco brewery Seven Stills, which imitated the In-N-Out logo on the can of its "In-N-Stout." In response, In-N-Out sent a good-natured cease and desist order riddled with beer puns (via Thrillist). But not all lawsuits coming from the iconic burger chain have been so friendly.

This is your CEO speaking

In the spring of 2018, prankster Cody Roeder entered two In-N-Out locations claiming to be the new CEO. Clad in a suit and tie, he stepped behind the counter of the first restaurant and asked for a burger and fries so he could conduct a quality test. Not buying the act, the manager called the police and Roeder fled before they arrived.

He then entered a second location and tried a similar stunt, this time approaching customers and pulling their burgers apart, announcing, "All of this is unsanitary, most of this is dog meat. Sir, sir, I hate to say this, but your food is contaminated. This is just, it's garbage," before throwing the food to the ground and stomping on it. Roeder filmed the encounters and uploaded them to his YouTube channel Trollmunchies (via Eater).

In response, In-N-Out Burger sued Roeder for $25,000 in damages and served him with a restraining order. In-N-Out told the Orange County Register that their response was preceded by multiple other cases of pranksters targeting their restaurants. "We have recently seen an increase of visitors ... who are not customers but instead are intentionally disruptive ... to promote themselves through social media. These visitors have unfortunately used deceit, fraud, and trespass to their own advantage, and in each instance, they have attempted to humiliate, offend, or otherwise make our customers or associates uncomfortable."

Whatever the outcome of the lawsuit, the channel took a hiatus after 2018. Even when it returned in November 2020, it was with a major shift in tone and viewership — and no prank videos to be found.