The enigmatic burger chain In-N-Out confirmed it is in the early planning stages of an expansion to Colorado, bringing the brand to seven Western U.S. states.
Carl Arena, In-N-Out’s vice president of development, told The Denver Business Journal in a statement that the chain is excited to expand to Colorado and is “working on plans to build a patty production facility and distribution center in Colorado Springs to support future restaurants in Colorado."
The company did not specify where the facility will be located.
“Because we are still in the early development phase, we don’t yet have a timeline for the construction of either our support facilities or future restaurants," Arena added in the article. "However, the steps we are taking now represent the first of many on the road to serving customers in Colorado."
The Denver Business Journal also reported that Westside Investment Partners Inc., a local real-estate investment firm, said that In-N-Out has a contract to buy a 22-acre site at the Victory Ridge commercial complex in North Colorado Springs for its production facility. That could also be the site of a future restaurant. Victory Ridge is a 153-acre mixed-use development about 15 miles north of downtown Colorado Springs.
Andy Klein, a principal with the firm, told The Denver Business Journal that the negotiations to bring In-N-Out to the state lasted only a couple of months before the deal was made.
The Irvine, California-based chain has locations in California, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon, Texas, and Utah. Colorado would mark only the second place outside of California, however, where In-N-Out has a patty factory.
As for where In-N-Out plans to open in Colorado, it’s all speculation at this point. Although the factory itself would point to a possible widespread footprint for the brand, as well as further expansion into the Front Range. In-N-Out said the production facility and distribution center could service up to 50 restaurants in a 350-mile radius.
When In-N-Out opened a distribution center in the Dallas area in 2011, it opened stores in major metros such as Austin and San Antonio.
Denver is also the base for Smashburger, Red Robin, and Good Times/Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar. Larkburger and several other fast casuals make the area a very competitive one for burger brands. In-N-Out and Smashburger actually have some recent history, with the brand suing over sandwich names.
“While we're not short on [burger concepts], we're short on the one that's the best. "They have a commitment to quality that stands out,” Klein told The Denver Business Journal.
In-N-Out has developed a cult-like following over the past 70 years. It has roughly 320 units with estimated sales over $600 million. Anthony Bourdain once even called it his favorite restaurant in Los Angeles.
Started by newlyweds Harry and Esther Snyder, In-N-Out was one of the nation’s first drive thrus. At the time of Harry Snyder’s passing in 1976, the chain had 18 stores. Under the direction of the Snyders’ youngest son, Rich, the chain grew to 93 outlets, including its first expansion outside California.
It opened its first restaurants in Arizona in 2000, Utah in 2008, Texas in 2011, and Oregon in 2015.
The company is now run by third-generation leader Lynsi Snyder, Harry, and Esther Snyder’s lone grandchild and Rich’s niece. Upon turning 35 inMay, Lynsi Snyder received the remaining shares of a family business Forbes estimated to be worth $1.3 billion (she’d received half upon turning 30).