In-N-Out Burger revealed Tuesday that it will enter the Southeast for the first time in history.
The historic concept will invest $125.5 million to build a 100,000-square-foot corporate office in Franklin, Tennessee. Construction is scheduled to start by late 2024 and finish by 2026. The building will house various functions like operations management, human resources, and IT. Along with the new corporate station, In-N-Out will start opening locations in the Nashville market by 2026. The brand has 385 units in California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Texas, Oregon, and Colorado. All of those units are corporately owned.
The future Nashville outlets will be the chain's first stores east of Texas.
Lynsi Snyder-Ellingson, owner and president, said customers in Tennessee have requested In-N-Out for years. She called the move "significant for our company."
“We are very excited to provide Tennesseans with our quality burgers, fries and shakes," she said in a statement. "In every decision I make, I always consider what my family would want. I have no doubt that my grandparents, dad and uncle would be proud of this decision to grow our associate family and serve even more amazing customers beginning in Nashville and the surrounding areas."
The announcement came from Tennessee's Department of Economic & Community Development. State officials said In-N-Out's corporate office will bring 277 new jobs to the areas.
“I’m proud to welcome In-N-Out Burger, an iconic American brand, to the Volunteer State," said Gov. Bill Lee in a statement. "Tennessee’s unmatched business climate, skilled workforce and central location make our state the ideal place for this family-run company to establish its first eastern United States hub. We thank In-N-Out for planting roots in Williamson County and creating new jobs for Tennesseans.”
Founded in 1948 by Harry and Esther Snyder, In-N-Out claims to be California's first drive-thru hamburger stand. In the years since, the brand has developed a strong cult following on the West Coast. Snyder-Ellingson, the only grandaughter of the founders, became president in 2010. Most recently, the company entered Texas in 2011, Oregon in 2015, and Colorado in 2020. There are also plans to plant flags in Idaho.
The move into Tennessee is a departure from Snyder-Ellingson's previous stance. In October 2018, she told Forbes that she didn't see In-N-Out stretching across the U.S. In fact, the CEO said, "Take Texas—draw a line up and just stick to the left. That’s in my lifetime. I like that we’re sought after when someone’s coming into town. I like that we’re unique. That we’re not on every corner. You put us in every state and it takes away some of its luster.”
But now, she's excited about the prospects of coming to the Southeast.
"Our customers are our most important asset at In-N-Out, and we very much look forward to serving them in years to come and becoming part of the wonderful communities in the Volunteer State," Snyder-Ellingson said.