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colin

In n' Out in Arizona

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I've always been tremendously interested in this particular fast food outlet. Their success can be largely attributed to their reluctance for mass expansion, thus making themselves all the more appealing through exclusivity.

Not a business model discussion though, but I'm curious what others think, especially since they're relatively new in the state, and in only three metro areas (Phoenix, Prescott, Lake Havasu City, with another just across the river from Bullhead in Laughlin) with a fourth coming (TUCSON!).

Although both Prescott and Lake Havasu only have one location, the Phoenix area has ten locations, all of which seem perpetually crowded. I frequent the I-10/Ray location quite a bit, and before 11:30am seems to be the only relative downtime.

For many groups, the In n' Out is a landmark, and they will go out of there way to frequent one. There's much folklore involved in its presence, whereas other California exports like Carl's Jr. and Wienerschnitzel have failed to create the same buzz.

What is it about In n' Out that makes it what it is? How has this changed the restaurant, particular fast food, make-up in the Valley and the rest of Arizona?

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alright colin,

Now you're speakin my language. In n Out is actually a California based chain with most of their restaurants in CA. But this is the business, I am in. In n Out is an outstanding chain, the busy restaurants go from consistent service and outstanding quality food. The management philosophy the company employs is one pretty common of companies started on the west coast. They pay there employees well, and have high high standards, while offering great benefits. It's a company that retains its employees, in a business where it's absolutely key.

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They actually expanded as far east as North Carolina, in the mid 90's but since then, all of their locations have gone out of business. It's a shame as I actually liked their food.

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They actually expanded as far east as North Carolina, in the mid 90's but since then, all of their locations have gone out of business. It's a shame as I actually liked their food.

I can't find any verification of this. As far as I know, they're only in CA, NV and AZ, and actually only came out of California several years ago.

The In-N-Out web site mentions nothing on it, and Google also reveals nothing. Are you sure this is the same chain? Their logo is very distinct, take a look if you have a chance.

I have heard about their relatively high wages, and the quality is certainly very high.

I've noticed a couple of changes in the past few years though:

1. They started taking cards. Before, they directed people to the adjacent ATM machine.

2. The food doesn't seem as well-cooked. This may be by location, but I've noticed this at the Chandler-Ray location and at the one in Prescott.

But what about the implications on the urban lifestyle? It's interesting that the fast food market has been able to grow in Phoenix, which is consistently near the top in the "Fittest Cities" list, and especially since this country as a whole continues to turn against the fast food lifestyle.

It's also interesting that In-N-Out has resisted the menu addition trend: burgers, fries and shakes. No salads, no chicken sandwiches, no artisan bread, despite all of this market research data where people have said that's what they want (however, there was a study on the news recently saying that people typically say they want salads, but order burgers anyway).

Their biggest competitor is the Texas-based Whataburger, who also prides itself on quality of ingredients, and has been in Arizona since the 60's.

And, yes, there's also Fatburger. Sorry, I just don't like them very much. It's mainly the fries, which can't hold a candle to In-N-Out's. And I think their burgers are about even with Whataburger. I've only had them once though, in LA, so maybe I just didn't get a good serving.

Compared to other chains though, especially Subway (who, I think, defines over-expansion), In-N-Out has been very timid about breaking into new markets. The Pacific Northwest seems to be the next logical frontier, but I could certainly be wrong and there could be an In-N-Out in Albuquerque, Dallas or even Honolulu in five years.

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I don't know, Im not sure how pro growth the company is.

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Yeah I'd always gotten the impression they were only located in the far west part of the country. I've heard of them but I admit I really don't know too much about them.

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Fatburger is better.

Yikes. I hate Fatburger... way too dry for me. Try Cheeburger Cheeburger if you have one. :D

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Hehe Mcdonalds is my family business. My dad's one of the talking heads out of Oakbrook. I've been around burgers my entire life, it's why im so partial ;) . Although I should add, I realize i'm most likely the only person on this website who's partial to Mcdonalds.

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there was a taco bell-affiliated cheap-burger-chain experiment in the early 90s called 'hot-n-now' that had locations all through the southeast (and maybe elsewhere). it's easy to confuse with in-n-out (i call in-n-out the wrong name all the time.) not so easy if you've ever had the food, though.

the north carolina location mentioned above could have been hot 'n' now. the logo is similar. they all went out of business within a year or so of opening.

i think the simplicity of the menu and the willed reluctance to grow are strategic and, along with the great food, key to in-n-out's success (at least in terms of cultural ingratiation). once a certain threshold of expansion is reached, however, i think it is inevitable that a chain will succumb to various market pressures - bigger menu, more locations, etc. i can't think of an example of a chain store of any kind that hasn't experienced this over time. i would hate to see it happen to in-n-out.

yeah, i've noticed a little inconsistency in the food in the last year or so. the one i visited in san diego a few months back had salty burgers. we hit up the ray rd. location the other night and the fries were off, but the everything else was great. the s.f. one that i've been to repeatedly has always been good, though - even though it's the one in the touristy wharf district and always slammed. it's a cultural phenomenon. no matter what night of the week, and no matter where you are, there will be people at in-n-out.

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Hot n Now started in the midwest about 25 years ago. Pepsi Brands bought them in the late 80's. And when Pepsi spun off it's restaurant division, Yum Brands inc phased out Hot N Now. They were everywhere.

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Hot n Now started in the midwest about 25 years ago. Pepsi Brands bought them in the late 80's. And when Pepsi spun off it's restaurant division, Yum Brands inc phased out Hot N Now. They were everywhere.

lol - you really are the man when it comes to fast food! i think what i saw in the south was the pepsi buy-out aftermath, then. it was new to us, and then within a year, it was gone.

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haha thanks man, it's what I want to be known for.

you can see my picture at www.friesaremyfuture.com

One of the things that killed hot n now was over expansion. They expanded to quick without developing adequate brain power and the restaurants were mismanaged. There's a good chance that it was built by a private franchisee who sank himself and it went out of business.

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Yikes. I hate Fatburger... way too dry for me. Try Cheeburger Cheeburger if you have one. :D

i lived across the street from a cheeburger for two years and never went. now i'm kicking myself. they have them in shreveport?

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i lived across the street from a cheeburger for two years and never went. now i'm kicking myself. they have them in shreveport?

Youve never been to a Cheeburger :shok: They have them all the way up in Virginia, and Im sure they go further north as well.

Hurry, go now! :lol:

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Hot n Now started in the midwest about 25 years ago. Pepsi Brands bought them in the late 80's. And when Pepsi spun off it's restaurant division, Yum Brands inc phased out Hot N Now. They were everywhere.

Is it just me, or does "Hot N' Now" sound like it should be the name of a phone sex line?

Tacos + Burgers? Sounds like Del Taco, which has to be the ultimate stoner place.

Up until a couple of years ago, their breakfast combos came with fries. I love that place.

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Is it just me, or does "Hot N' Now" sound like it should be the name of a phone sex line?

Tacos + Burgers? Sounds like Del Taco, which has to be the ultimate stoner place.

Up until a couple of years ago, their breakfast combos came with fries. I love that place.

hot 'n' now was all traditional burgers & fries for cheap; no tacos (at least not at the ones i went to). it was owned by (mjlo can help me here) the pizza hut-kfc-taco bell people. it was just a no-frills burger place priced to compete with krystal (a burger was 59 cents, etc.) not really bad; just not worth more than 59 cents.

i need to give del taco another chance - it has been bland the few times i've been. i just noticed carl's jr. and the green burrito under the same roof. i guess they're going for the burger/taco thing as well.

i like nico's for cheap tacos. not tried losbetos yet, though. someone told me it's pretty good. lol - i envision leaving the house in a little while...

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hot 'n' now was all traditional burgers & fries for cheap; no tacos (at least not at the ones i went to). it was owned by (mjlo can help me here) the pizza hut-kfc-taco bell people. it was just a no-frills burger place priced to compete with krystal (a burger was 59 cents, etc.) not really bad; just not worth more than 59 cents.

i need to give del taco another chance - it has been bland the few times i've been. i just noticed carl's jr. and the green burrito under the same roof. i guess they're going for the burger/taco thing as well.

i like nico's for cheap tacos. not tried losbetos yet, though. someone told me it's pretty good. lol - i envision leaving the house in a little while...

I always try to push people here to Del Taco because I think Taco Bell sucks. Their ingredients are just better and they have more variety. The Downtown location also has free wi-fi.

Green Burrito is actually pretty limited and doesn't really have tacos. I think they're overpriced, too, but I like their nachos. Worth a shot if you like fast food.

Yeah, Nico's has to be the best fast food Mexican in town (love that "Flying Saucer"). Los Beto's is really variable with location. The one on Speedway by campus is awful, as is the one on Palo Verde near Ajo, but then both the one on Grant near First and the one on Prince and Flowing Wells are good.

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BTW, it's of interest to note the two Tucson-based non-Mexican chains in town (although only one has expanded outside of Tucson to Nogales): Yokohama Rice Bowl and Eegee's. The latter is famous all over the state. I've known people in Phoenix who would actually bring Eegee's back while down here and put it in their freezer for later.

Quite a tasty beverage. I think that they would do really well outside of Tucson, but I think they worry about the expansion ruining their company, as they're family-run now and are known for treating their employees well (I know that they have profit-sharing at all levels).

Certainly if you're interested in fast food, make a stop at one if you ever come to Tucson, if only just for their signature ice-based thing.

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Is it just me, or does "Hot N' Now" sound like it should be the name of a phone sex line?

Tacos + Burgers? Sounds like Del Taco, which has to be the ultimate stoner place.

Up until a couple of years ago, their breakfast combos came with fries. I love that place.

Colin, are you trying to tell us something about your lifestyle?

Do we need to have an intervention.

I have this image of you doing bong hits thinking of Del Taco!

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i lived across the street from a cheeburger for two years and never went. now i'm kicking myself. they have them in shreveport?

Yes, and I love them. LOVE them. :D

Over 70 shake flavors. Yeah, kick yourself HARD. :lol:

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Colin, are you trying to tell us something about your lifestyle?

;)

Not adverse, but certainly not a frequent consumer.

Seriously though, check out Del Taco's drive-thru at 11pm on a Friday or Saturday if you ever have a chance. But don't get in the line, you'll get stuck behind some guy going "um...um.." for like five minutes.

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I dunno with a name like del taco what do you expect?

I had in and out today, everytime I go there i'm not disapointed.

Has to be one of the best run chains in the business.

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BTW, it's of interest to note the two Tucson-based non-Mexican chains in town (although only one has expanded outside of Tucson to Nogales): Yokohama Rice Bowl and Eegee's. The latter is famous all over the state. I've known people in Phoenix who would actually bring Eegee's back while down here and put it in their freezer for later.

Quite a tasty beverage. I think that they would do really well outside of Tucson, but I think they worry about the expansion ruining their company, as they're family-run now and are known for treating their employees well (I know that they have profit-sharing at all levels).

Certainly if you're interested in fast food, make a stop at one if you ever come to Tucson, if only just for their signature ice-based thing.

Only if they focus mainly on the eegees. Their subs are horrible.

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Another blow to the fast food empire:

Owner bankruptcy filing shuts Krispy Kremes here

I've personally never liked Krispy Kreme. I always thought they were too greasy, and have never really been able to particularly like any donut shop here. But, regardless, they are the epitome of over-expansion and I'm really not surprised that they're gone now after only 4 years in Tucson. Are the ones in Phoenix still open?

What's bad about the whole thing is what's mentioned in the article regarding wages: no one here is going to pay over $11/hour for that sort of work. Tucson's economy just can't support it.

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