Sorry, In-N-Out fetishists, but don't expect the California-based burger chain to expand more rapidly when its recently outed billionaire burger heiress Lynsi Torres gains full control of the company in five years. The OC Register profiles the 30-year-old In-N-Out president, who explains that she wants to carry on her family's business legacy that involves a slow expansion plan and bonkers salaries for store managers. As she explains, "I really feel responsible to maintain those things that my family instilled in this company. ... That's challenging because the temptation is to cut corners and change things here and there and do what everyone else is doing."
There has been some historical speculation that expansion might move more quickly under Torres — a former vice president of the company filed a lawsuit back in 2006 accusing Torres of "conspiring to grab control of the company and expand rapidly." But industry consultants point out that In-N-Out has continued to grow at its average 6 percent per year pace since that time. And Torres tells the paper, "We're not changing things like many other companies do. ... That's kept us unique; it's kept the customers feeling like we're not a sellout."
And, of course, there's In-N-Out's longtime policy of keeping all of its stores within a certain radius of its distribution facilities as apparently the stores do not have any freezers or microwaves. The opening of a second distribution facility in Dallas has opened up the possibility of new locations in Texas — and theoretically 13 neighboring states. But so far that expansion has been, predictably, slow.
But the OC Register piece also touches on In-N-Out's longheld reputation as a solid place to work with salaries that stretched high above that of other fast food restaurants — credited by Businessweek for "professionalizing fast food." While back in 2009 store managers made at least $100,000 a year with bonus opportunities, in 2012 managers made an average of $120,000 a year. Torres explains to the paper, "I do try to keep that family atmosphere here. ... It's really hard to keep that today, with 281 stores, it's really hard. But I'm doing my best to keep that going."