Exactly none of the proposed In-N-Out Burger spots slated for Houston have opened yet, but that hasn’t stopped the family-owned southern California favorite from adding a third location to its proposed Bayou City expansion.
As CultureMap media partner ABC-13 reports, the burger joint is looking to open in northwest Houston on the site of Willowbrook Mall. Reports indicate the restaurant will have seating for 70 customers as well as a drive-thru lane and should have about 50 employees.
No firm timeline yet on In-N-Out’s Willowbrook construction plan — let alone an opening date — but the company’s vice president of real estate told ABC-13 new concepts typically take five to six months to build and open.
That’s got to be tantalizing news for In-N-Out devotees, who raised a collective cheer when the company announced last year it would set up shop in Stafford on the former TI campus. That announcement was followed swiftly by one touting plans to open in Katy in the Y Shops at Park West. According to Eater Houston, construction on the Stafford spot is set to start in June, with a projected fall opening.
In-N-Out founder Harry Synder opened the first In-N-Out in 1948 in Baldwin Park, in Los Angeles’ San Gabriel Valley. Across its 70-odd-year history, the company had become known for a number of firsts and traditions – the first drive-thru restaurant to use a two-way speaker system, hand-leafing its lettuce on site, that (not so) secret menu that’s attracted a cult following, having its food trucks at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party.
The burger chain is also well known for is its glacial expansion. The company is still family-owned and current president Lynsi Snyder, Harry’s granddaughter, has been adamant that In-N-Out won’t ever sell franchises. Further, the restaurants famously don’t have freezers or microwaves, which means that every ingredient is delivered fresh to the locations. That requires a high-level supply chain and without having it in place, In-N-Out refuses to open new locations.
The stories of the company’s expansion into Houston go back at least to 2011, proving that it’s taken eight years of development to make the restaurant a reality here in the Bayou City. Now that there’s light at the end of the In-N-Out Burger tunnel for California transplants and plain ol’ In-N-Out fans, expect the In-N-Out versus Whataburger feud to heat up (again).