In-N-Out Burger case study – Ranked 4th Among America’s Best Workplaces



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In-N-Out Burger, a brand deeply cherished worldwide, recognizes the extraordinary role its employees play in delivering a remarkable customer experience that reflects the essence of their brand. Even though this West Coast brand is cautiously expanding eastward, it boasts an enthusiastic base of brand devotees. Try challenging its superiority to other burger joints, and you might find yourself in a fervent debate. Hidden under this rampant fandom, however, lies a bedrock of dedicated, diligent, and well-compensated staff members. Read our story that compares all the premium burger restaurants to see who will win. Also, if you want to read about a local Toronto burger restaurant, click on; Burger’s Priest

In-N-Out Burger Case Study

Best place to work

Glassdoor survey results

Per the annual Glassdoor survey, In-N-Out Burger takes the 4th spot among the best places to work in America. When the focus shifts to Los Angeles, In-N-Out Burger clinches the top position. It’s not a fleeting triumph either; since the inception of the survey in 2009, the company has consistently held a place in the top 10. Similar high praise is echoed on

In-N-Out Burgers

The other four companies featured on this distinguished list include the world’s two largest social media entities and two premium consulting firms. Imagine that!

The secret recipe behind In-N-Out Burger

In-N-Out Burger remunerates its managers with up to $160,000 per annum, a staggering 3 to 4 times higher than the industry average. In the context of California, this figure surpasses the income of a Silicon Valley tech worker ($114K) or an architect ($112k).

Entry-level employees at In-N-Out Burger receive a pay that’s $2 above the minimum wage. The company extends benefits like 401(k) plans, paid vacation, and dental and vision coverage to both part- and full-time employees—a noteworthy package within the fast-food industry. Moreover, they adhere to a promotion-from-within policy, with employees typically seeing 2-3 promotions with corresponding pay raises in their first year. Every shift is topped off with a complimentary In-N-Out Burger.

Online reviews often mention the enjoyable work environment and the familial attitude of the management, who are receptive to their staff’s needs. It’s evident that a generous salary alone won’t yield a 4.6/5 on an anonymous review site.

Working at In-N-Out Burger can indeed be rigorous and high-pressure, especially considering the droves of brand enthusiasts each outlet attracts. One of the aspects I find delightful is the drive-thru experience, where a cheerful employee directly approaches your car to take your order. This interaction immediately conveys the brand’s commitment to offering an exceptional experience, even if your visit lasts merely a few minutes.

In-N-Out Customer Experience

The unparalleled customer experience at In-N-Out Burger

The In-N-Out customer experience is defined by more than just the high-quality burgers they serve; it’s an amalgamation of excellent food, a warm atmosphere, and unrivalled customer service, which altogether create an immersive dining experience.


Firstly, the consistency of the food quality is one of the most distinctive features of the In-N-Out experience. The company’s commitment to using fresh, never frozen ingredients is evident in the taste of their food. From their 100% pure beef burgers to their hand-cut French fries made from fresh potatoes, the menu offers simplicity and quality, which are hard to find elsewhere in the fast-food industry.


Furthermore, each In-N-Out burger can be customized based on personal preferences through their “secret menu.” This feature isn’t explicitly displayed in-store but is familiar to regular customers. From “Animal Style” to “Protein Style,” these bespoke options enhance the customer experience by granting a feeling of exclusivity and individuality.

Great atmosphere

The inviting, clean, and well-maintained restaurant ambiance contributes significantly to the customer experience. Retro-inspired decor that harks back to the classic American diners of the 1950s, coupled with spotlessly clean premises, adds to the overall dining pleasure. This commitment to a neat and tidy environment also extends to their team members who are always smartly turned out in their distinctive uniforms.

Exceptional Service

However, the essence of the In-N-Out customer experience lies in their exceptional service. Their staff, always friendly and approachable, are trained to ensure each customer feels valued and welcomed. The order-taking process, whether at the counter or the drive-thru, is always efficient and attentive. They seem to have mastered the art of fast food service by blending speed with personalized attention.

Drive-thru service

Moreover, the In-N-Out drive-thru service is designed to handle high volumes of orders without compromising on service quality or order accuracy. Rather than relying solely on static microphones and speakers, employees often come out to your car to take orders directly when the queues are long. This approach demonstrates a commitment to maintaining a human touch and high service standards, even during peak times.

Community engagement

Community engagement is another facet of the In-N-Out experience. The brand has established the In-N-Out Burger Foundation, which assists children who have been victims of child abuse and neglect. There are also programs such as the In-N-Out “Cover to Cover” reading program for children. Such initiatives create a stronger bond between the brand and its customers, enhancing the sense of community.

Brand culture

Marketing your brand to employees inside your own company

The best brands consistently deliver. When you build your brand idea, I recommend you use a cross-functional team, including salespeople, R&D, human resources, finance, and operations. Their participation is one way to gain their buy-in. But that’s not where it stops.

Use your internal brand communications tools to drive a shared definition of the brand idea, as well as getting everyone to articulate how their role delivers that brand idea. Give the external and internal brand story equal importance to the consumer experience you create for your brand.

Using the brand idea to organize everyone.

Everyone who works on the brand should use the brand idea as inspiration, and guide decisions and activities across every function of your organization. It is the people within the brand organization who will deliver the brand idea to the consumer. Everyone needs a common understanding of and talking points for the brand.

When you work on a brand that leads to the customer experience, your operations people will be responsible for the face-to-face delivery of your brand to the consumer. Develop a list of service values, behaviors, and processes to deliver the brand idea throughout your organization.

Employee Value Proposition

In-N-Out Burger is well known for its commitment to its employees. While exact policies and benefits may vary and change over time, as of my knowledge cut-off in 2021, here are some ways In-N-Out fulfills each component of their Employee Value Proposition (EVP):


In-N-Out is known for paying above-average wages compared to the fast-food industry. Store managers reportedly earn high salaries, further demonstrating a commitment to rewarding hard work.


The company provides comprehensive benefits such as medical, dental, and vision insurance, a 401(k) plan, paid vacation, and free meals during shifts. There’s also an employee assistance program that helps with issues like stress, substance abuse, or major life events.

Career Development: 

In-N-Out has a strong promote-from-within policy. Many store managers and executives started as entry-level associates. The company provides the necessary training and resources for individuals to grow in their careers.

Work Environment: 

Known for its clean and organized stores, In-N-Out maintains a positive work environment. The company prides itself on having a family-like culture where employees are treated with respect and dignity.

Work Content: 

Employees are given the opportunity to contribute directly to the company’s mission of providing quality food and excellent customer service. The work is fast-paced, varied, and directly impacts customer satisfaction.

Company Reputation: 

In-N-Out has a strong brand reputation for quality, consistency, and customer service. Employees can take pride in being part of a well-regarded, iconic company that aligns with these values.


Employee achievements are recognized and celebrated. This could be through performance reviews, acknowledgment during team meetings, or rewards for service milestones.


The company is committed to supportive, hands-on leadership. Management is often promoted from within, which means they have a strong understanding of all aspects of the operation and can provide meaningful guidance and mentorship.

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