Cheat-Seeking Missles

Sunday, August 06, 2006

In-N-Out Matriarch Dies

Esther Snyder,the octogenarian matriarch of the wildly popular In-N-Out hamburger chain, has died, passing the reins of the chain (the reign of the chain?) on to her 24 year old granddaughter, Lyndsi Martinez.

In-N-Out enjoys mythical status around the country and, although no one keeps the numbers, if you considered tourist visits to all California In-N-Outs as visits to a single tourist attraction, it would probably be one of the largest attractions in the state.

What made the concept so good? A simple but deep and long commitment:

Snyder met her husband, Harry, while she was working as a manager at a Seattle restaurant in 1947. Harry, known as a stickler for neat attire, sold baked goods to the restaurant. The two moved to Baldwin Park, married and founded In-N-Out in 1948.

From the beginning, the Snyders' strategy was simple: Serve fresh burgers in a clean, customer-friendly environment. She kept the books, while her husband ran the day-to-day operations of his unique "two-way speaker" drive-through concept. ...

Up until the end, she was passionate about that tradition. In a rare video message made for employees late last year, Snyder – dressed in a blue smock – said she still made spot checks on eateries to ensure workers were preparing meals correctly, and with a smile.
Also contributing to the In-N-Out mystique were the short menu and the items off the menu -- Monster, Protein, Flying Dutchman, 100X100 and Dump Truck -- that savvy customers know to order. Well, I don't know if "savvy" is the proper adjective for those who order a 100X100 (pictured) or a Double-Double Dump Truck. That would be two patties, two pieces of cheese, lettuce, tomato, onions (grilled or plain) ... and the "Dump Truck:" the grill scrapings piled on top.

Many of us also have a soft spot for In-N-Out because there are bible verses inside the bottom lip of the drink cups, as a testimony to the family's decision to not put a basket over the light of their faith. In this case, the basket would be full of potatoes, about to become the best french fries in America.

Rest in peace, Esther. Keep the faith and the brand, Lyndsi.

Hat-tip: OCBlog
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