The Real Reason In-N-Out Won’t Open Restaurants on the East Coast

In-N-Out restaurants are exclusive to the West Coast–but they have just as many fans on the East Coast too. Here's the real reason why the chain won't be opening locations on the East Coast.

Ask any East Coast or West Coast burger-lover, and they will likely have an opinion on a timeless debate: Which burger is better—In-N-Out or Shake Shack? For In-N-Out lovers, the hope for some East Coast locations is strong. Although, there are a few reasons why East Coasters shouldn’t get too optimistic.

There’s little to no possibility of an East Coast location of the beloved chain opening any time soon—even if In-N-Out is set to soon open its latest restaurant location in Denver, Colorado.

Here’s why In-N-Out Burger will remain a strictly West-Coast delicacy.

Where Is In-N-Out Burger Located?

According to In-N-Out’s Location Guide—which lists every restaurant location for In-N-Out lovers who want to visit each special spot—the chain is currently located in seven states.

The guide further lists a total of 378 In-N-Out locations nationwide, with the overwhelming majority of those residing throughout California. Although many Arizona, Texas, Utah, Oregon, Colorado and Nevada residents can still indulge in some signature In-N-Out sauce.

Why Won’t In-N-Out Burger Open on the East Coast?

It turns out, there are actually a few reasons that In-N-Out hasn’t expanded far from the Pacific. But why? It has to do with frozen hamburger patties.

The In-N-Out website explains that they “don’t freeze, pre-package or microwave” its food. They commit to “make things the old-fashioned way.” Essentially, its hamburger patties are only made with the highest-quality, fresh meat.

To ensure quality even further, In-N-out solely opens restaurant locations within 300 miles of its three very own patty-making facilities. The 100% USDA ground chunk patties “free of additives, fillers and preservatives” are made at the chain’s Baldwin Park, California, Lathrop, California and Dallas, Texas facilities.

The website states that even its lettuce, American cheese, onions, tomatoes, buns and fries are all fresh! Talk about healthy fast-food orders.

To deflate any hopes of a possible East Coast In-N-Out, the company’s president—Lynsi Snyder “has said the company will never go public or franchise its restaurants,” according to Business Insider.

Where Can You Find In-N-Out Burger Locations?

Fortunately, In-N-Out continues to open new locations! Its latest will soon open as the first location in Denver, Colorado. The opening date has not been officially released yet, but it has been speculated that it could take place early in 2023.

In 2020, the first two Colorado locations of the franchise opened. With the introduction of its new Denver location, the state will now have five In-N-Out restaurants.

So while there may not be any In-N-Out’s on the East Coast anytime soon, we’ll never say never. If locations keep rapidly opening, there may be In-N-Out’s popping up all over the country, someday. For now, we’ll keep mulling over those In-N-Out copycat recipes while imagining the high-quality bite of an In-N-Out burger.

Jessica Kaplan
Jessica Kaplan creates trend content for Taste of Home. When it comes to all things food news, she's an expert. Jessica has previously written lifestyle content for Reader’s Digest, Family Handyman and The Healthy. These days, she loves trying out the latest TikTok recipes and exploring New York eateries and coffee shops.