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Why In-N-Out Burger won't expand to the East Coast

Tech Insider logo Tech Insider 7/22/2017 Hayley Peterson
Flickr/punctuated © Provided by Business Insider Inc Flickr/punctuated

Fans of In-N-Out have been begging the chain for years to open restaurants on the East Coast. 

The fast-food chain, which is based on the West Coast, has slowly expanded eastward over its 70-year lifetime to Nevada, Arizona, Utah, and more recently to Houston, Texas. The company has also been holding "pop-up shops" around the world, where burgers tend to sell out within minutes .

All signs seemingly point to a plan for expansion.

But four major factors make it highly unlikely that East Coasters will get to experience the joy of an In-N-Out in their neighborhood anytime soon.

WATCH: We tried Culver's — the Midwest burger chain that's all about butter 


Here's why:

1. Quality control: There are no freezers or microwaves in In-N-Out restaurants because the company has a strict policy of serving its food fresh. Therefore, all locations must be within 300 miles of the company's distribution facilities.I Am Second

"At In-N-Out Burger, we make all of our hamburger patties ourselves and deliver them fresh to all of our restaurants with our own delivery vehicles," In-N-Out vice president of planning and development Carl Van Fleet told Business Insider in a previous interview. "Nothing is ever frozen. Our new restaurant locations are limited by the distance we can travel from our patty-making facilities and distribution centers."

2. Exclusivity: Everything has more appeal when it's not available to everyone, and the exclusivity of In-N-Out has helped the restaurant gain such a rabid following of fans.

In response to pleading from a local politician for an In-N-Out to open in Denver, Van Fleet made it clear the company was not planning to expand farther east.

Yelp © Provided by Business Insider Inc Yelp

"You continue to give us the biggest compliment possible with your efforts to interest us in Colorado," he wrote in a letter obtained by The Denver Post. "That said, at this time, we're still not looking to add a sixth state and we're just focusing our growth efforts in the five states where we currently operate."

Since then, In-N-Out has expanded to Oregon — which is the chain's sixth state of operation.

3.Competition: The East Coast has numerous burger joints that would offer tough competition for In-N-Out, including Shake Shack and Five Guys.

4. No franchising: In-N-Out President Lynsi Snyder has said the company will "never" go public or franchise its restaurants.

"The only reason we would do that is for the money, and I wouldn’t do it,"Snyder told CBS.

"My heart is totally connected to this company because of my family, and the fact that they are not here — I have a strong tie to keep this the way they would want it."

A large-scale expansion without franchising would require a massive amount of up-front capital from the company.

"In-N-Out remains privately owned and the Snyder family has no plans to take the company public or franchise any units," the company reaffirms on its website.

GALLERY: This East Coast cult favorite just beat In-N-Out as America's favorite burger chain — here's what it's like

<p> America has a new favorite burger chain.</p><p> Five Guys, the East Coast based burger chain famous for its simplicity and myriad toppings, <a href=""> claimed the top spot</a> in the latest annual Harris Poll EquiTrend survey.</p><p> West Coast cult favorite In-N-Out held the title for the past two years, and came in second place this year. </p><p> We visited Five Guys to see if it's worth all the hype.</p> This East Coast cult favorite just beat In-N-Out as America's favorite burger chain — here's what it's like


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