LOS ANGELES, Calif. - Hot rod and In-N-Out! Two iconic American brands celebrating their 70th anniversaries together in Pomona - at the auto club raceway recently. Burgers and burnouts were on the menu. The perfect pairing to In-N-Out CEO Lynsi Snyder, like fries and a cheeseburger.
Her grandparents, Harry and Esther Snyder, opened the first In-N-Out, in Baldwin Park in 1948. It became a hangout for hot rod drivers since the locations were strategically placed off of popular highways throughout southern California.
Lynsi's love for hot rods came from her father Guy Snyder. Guy died in 1999 from a prescription-drug overdose when Lynsi was just 17. They held his memorial at the Pomona Raceway.
“I walked out to the lanes, I looked down the lanes, I shed a few tears, and I said I’m going to be back. I made the declaration that I was going to race here."
And she did a few years later. Lynsi has won multiple races - always in her father's honor.
Tragedy had struck Lynsi's family years before her father passed. Her uncle, Rich Snyder, had died in a plane crash. So, with both her father and uncle gone Lynsi became the sole heir of the burger chain's empire.
On her 35th birthday, she acquired most of the chain's remaining shares. The inheritance makes her one of the youngest female billionaires in the country, and she has changed very little since taking control. A menu with fewer than 15 items: burgers, cheeseburgers, fries, soda, milk shakes and the signature Double-Double.
They are loyal to never using microwaves, freezers, or heat lamps. To make that possible and to keep costs down, all the locations are close to distribution centers.
If you're hoping an In-N-Out pops up in your neighborhood, the company has intentionally expanded slowly and methodically.
"My uncle said we will grow but we grow with the people. if we don't have the right people to do the job then we are not going to build a bunch of stores."
Though unfortunate circumstances forced Lynsi in to the role of CEO, she has proven a natural. Her 26,000 employees give her a 99% approval rating on Glassdoor.com, the job-reviews site. That could also be partly attributed to how well the employees are treated. An In-N-Out employee makes an average of $13 an hour, which is well above the normal pay rate in other fast food chains which are around $9 an hour. And, if you're a manager, you could make six figures.
“I don’t do this alone. I do this with an amazing team. that Glassdoor rating doesn't point to me. It points to a group of people."
So with 335 locations mostly in California and a fan base that wait in lines for hours for their animal style Double-Double, the question many ask Lynsi is if will she will sell the company. She is quick to answer: While Lynsi may take risks on the track, when it comes to her families company, she is steadfast.
“Selling would not be an option, and I wouldn't franchise ever!"
So hot rod drivers and burger fans have nothing to fear. The drive thrus in 2018 will continue to pay homage to their roots from 1948. And east coasters, bad news - Lynsi says they are going to expand the company but there are no immediate plans to open any locations on the east coast.