Jim Shinn Column: Shout Out for “In-N-Out”

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I have been an In-N-Out restaurant fan for years before the fast food outlet opened in El Centro. They are an amazing business feat.

Most restaurants give you a wide variety of choices on the menu. We are a society that honors diversity. But In-N-Out went outside the box by just offering hamburgers and fries! No tacos, chicken sandwiches, salads or any thing other than the burger, and at that, you just have the choice of cheese or no cheese. Every time I go, whether here, on the coast, or L.A., the place is busting at the seams with customers. It is a business anomaly and I am glad for their success.

There are some other reasons I am an In-N-Out fan. Many years ago, we noticed that there are Bible verses written on the bottoms of cups and the French fry bags. It is not an “in your face” faith statement, but if you look you will see them. It is kind of like God. If you seek Him you will find Him. He is knocking at the door. The Bible says that God’s word never returns void, so when your stomach is filling up, the Word is also doing its work as well. My grandson went there this week and on the bottom of his soda cup was John 3:16 (“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life”). On the bottom of the fries was Proverbs 24:16 (“…for though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again, but the wicked stumble when calamity strikes”).

The eatery is excellent in other ways as well. Service is always quick and quality. The staff are positive, friendly and considering how busy they are, they always seem to get the grub done pretty fast. My brother-in-law in North San Diego County worked at a high school for nearly 3 decades. One responsibility he had was helping high schoolers get jobs and he found In-N-Out, not only to have the highest wages among the fast food businesses, but an employee training program that focused on building character as well as burgers. He believes that In-N-Out is one café that really cares about its work crews.

Years ago, I was doing research about funding for a community service project. I learned that In-N-Out also has a grant program for local human service activities. One of their funding focuses is helping foster kids. I am now a CASA volunteer (Court Appointed Special Advocate) and we try to help out with foster kids and their families. In-N-Out has helped CASA and others for many years. Since I was not non-profit, my proposal never got out of the computer, but In-N-Out has been getting its money into the hands of the other helpers for a while now.

 As much as I love burgers and fries, I don’t go to In-N-Out that often. I took one of the grandsons there last week. I was very pleased to see that In-N-Out has taken up another cause. They are standing up and against human trafficking. From my view of the valley, they are the first business getting on this modern day anti-slavery train. It encourages me when businesses get involved in social issues and do concrete things to help in the battle. If you love the Lord or hate what human trafficking does to women, children and society, take the family out for burgers. It will be good food and another teachable moment! Your children will never forget the lesson, and I guarantee it will not go in one ear and out the other!

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