Cultishly adored burger chain In-N-Out debuted its first new menu item in over a decade and it’s... maybe not quite what devotees of the fast-food restaurant would expect: hot cocoa.
This is not the kind of thick, rich hot chocolate found at fancy bakeries for eight bucks. Made with hot water and topped with (optional) crunchy freeze-dried marshmallows, it’s more like the nostalgic Swiss Miss version — though it’s actually made by Ghirardelli — and is priced accordingly at $1.65. A manager at an LA-area store says the hot cocoa has been on the menu since November.
In-N-Out has rarely made menu additions in its 70-year history. It serves only burgers, fries, milkshakes (in the ubiquitous flavors of vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry), and fountain beverages. The last time it added a new menu item was around 15 years ago, when it began serving lemonade.
According to a statement from In-N-Out president Lynsi Snyder, “This is actually the return of hot cocoa. My grandparents, Harry and Esther Snyder, served it for many years beginning in the ‘50s. I’m not sure how it fell off the menu but it’s part of our culture and something special for kids, and I’m happy that we’re bringing it back.”
Though it may seem well-suited for the current spate of unusually cold weather that’s affecting much of the U.S., hot cocoa isn’t exactly a logical pairing with the rest of In-N-Out’s tightly edited menu. Nonetheless, an employee at the company’s corporate office confirms that the chain will be serving the hot drink year-round at all of its locations, and it’s also been officially added to the restaurant’s rather barebones menu board. And a rep tells Eater SF that the cocoa will be available free of charge to kids under 12 on rainy days.
Additional reporting by Eater special correspondent Meghan McCarron.
• Why In-N-Out Is the Greatest Road Trip Burger [Eater LA]
• In-N-Out Adds Its First New Menu Item in a Decade: Hot Cocoa [SF Gate]
• In-N-Out Has Hot Cocoa, And It’s Free for Kids on Rainy Days [ESF]