The Sunshine State has plenty to offer residents and visitors alike. From the amazing amusement parks, restaurants, and hotels, to the fantastic beaches, there’s so many reasons for people to head to Florida every year. However, one of the few things that the state has yet to secure is an In-N-Out restaurant. But could the time be coming when the resident’s dreams come true? Today we’ll tell you when In-N-Out could open its first location in Florida and what has to happen first to make it a reality.
What’s The Hoopla About In-N-Out?
While some Floridians may be on the edge of their seat waiting for an In-N-Out restaurant to end up in their town, others are likely scratching their heads wondering what all the excitement is about. For those not in the know, this is a popular burger franchise that started out of California in 1948 by Esther and Harry Snyder. The restaurant was very innovative for the time and it even introduced a speaker that allowed customers to order food from their car.
The other thing that sets this franchise apart is their very simple menu. You basically have three options, with your choices being a meal with a cheeseburger, one with a hamburger, and a third for a hamburger with two patties. There are also soft drinks and tasty shakes that you can order. Not too long ago, the restaurant started offering food options off of a secret menu that includes special items like burgers with three and four patties. There’s also a grilled cheese and an “animal style” burger that’s wrapped in lettuce instead of a bun.
Are There In-N-Out Restaurants Near Florida?
The short answer is: no. At this point, the closest restaurants are in Texas. And that’s the thing. The solution as to when In-N-Out could open its first location in Florida is up in the air at the moment due to the current state of the company and how they do their business. If you took a quick glance at a list of In-N-Out locations in the country, you’d see a long list of 394 restaurants in 279 cities. While that sounds quite expansive, the reality is that all of those locations are only in seven states. Those states include:
- California (271 locations)
- Nevada (21 locations)
- Arizona (35 locations)
- Utah (12 locations)
- Texas (41 locations)
- Oregon (4 locations)
- Colorado (8 locations)
Most of those are western states with the exception of Texas. There are many restaurants in Texas and the fact that the company has started to move south has made many Floridians very excited about the idea of In-N-Out making their way to The Sunshine State. However, that fact is not as promising as it may seem and the issue is a lack of a distribution center.
The In-N-Out Distribution Center Rule
The In-N-Out company goes by several rules that ensure the maximum quality of its food and the satisfaction of the customers. One of them is that every In-N-Out restaurant must be within 300-600 miles of a distribution center. It’s the best way to make sure that the meat patties, potatoes, and other ingredients get to the restaurant before they lose any of their quality. Plus, there’s napkins, plasticware, and cups that need to be sent to restaurants on a regular basis.
Currently, the company has six distribution centers. Current locations are in:
- Baldwin Park, CA
- Lathrop, CA
- Phoenix, AZ
- Draper, UT
- Dallas, TX
- Colorado Springs, CO
The problem that the state of Florida has with getting a potential In-N-Out restaurant is that none of those distribution centers are within 600 miles. Even the Dallas, TX location is over 1,100 miles away. All seemed lost until earlier this year when it was announced that In-N-Out would be building a new office hub/distribution center in Franklin, Tennessee. The company plans to start construction in 2024 on a 100,000-square-foot facility and have it completed by 2026. Once it’s complete, the company plans to open several In-N-Out burgers around the state.
That could potentially be good news for Florida. While a Franklin facility is still about 750 miles away from Florida, and it’s not within the prerequisite 600 mile radius, this is the first facility that’s being built east of the Mississippi, so further expansion is possible.
Here's When In-N-Out Could Open Its First Location in Florida
It’s all hypothetical at this point, but if they’re already working on expanding In-N-Out’s reach east of the Mississippi, and the new building will be done in 2026, then a further expansion to Florida could be next. However, that wouldn’t be until that office is built, and so, Florida could be looking at a 5-10 year wait at the minimum.
Why In-N-Out Should Come to Florida
There are numerous reasons why the company should start opening In-N-Out restaurants in Florida. One of them is that there are millions of customers that they could have coming in the door on day one. The state of Florida has close to 22 million people as of the 2021 census. That’s more people than five of the states where In-N-Out currently does business, so finding people to walk into the restaurant wouldn’t be a problem. That also means that there are plenty of qualified people who could work at the restaurants. So, In-N-Out management wouldn’t have to search for long.
While there’s already a huge customer base, there’s also a massive amount of tourists coming to visit the state every day. As of 2022, it's over 137 million per year. They come for attractions and opportunities that aren’t in their state, like Disney World, Epcot Center, and unlimited kids activities. Tourists who have heard of In-N-Out but don’t have one in their state would love to stop at a restaurant and hand over their money.
As a final point, there have actually been conversations between Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and In-N-Out President Lynsi Snyder-Ellingson over a possible business relationship. During the calls, they talked about the fact that there were not any distribution centers near Florida. DeSantis pointed out that Florida had some of the best ranches and farms in the country, and maybe they could get meat from there. However, while they had productive talks, the In-N-Out president said that at this point there’s no plans of going to Florida, but only time will tell.
Other Famous Restaurants Not Yet In Florida
While Florida is a huge state with a lot of people and popular eateries, there are several notable restaurants that are missing from the Sunshine State.
Big Boy – It’s one of the most recognizable restaurants that serves burgers, sandwiches, and salads, but it’s not in Florida.
Jack in the Box – It’s a burger restaurant similar to In-N-Out since it also serves burgers, among other items. Floridians have likely seen commercials or ads for Jack in the Box, but they can’t visit one.
Raising Cane’s – This restaurant is also similar to In-N-Out due to its simplicity. There are only four combos to choose from on their menu. However, Floridians can’t taste them.
Tim Hortons – This is a restaurant that once served donuts and coffee, but has since graduated to sandwiches, wraps, and more. There were two locations in Florida during the 1980s, but they left the state. Now’s a good time for them to come back.
White Castle – It’s the restaurant that serves tiny burgers in a snack. People in the Midwest can’t get enough of this restaurant, but unfortunately, Floridians are yet to be so lucky. However, they may be able to buy the burgers in the frozen food section of their grocery store.
So the question as to when In-N-Out could open its first location in Florida is still up in the air. While talks have happened, there needs to be a distribution center nearby, and at this point, that’s not happening. However, the company could continue to expand east after the production of the Franklin, TN plant. However, that will be another 5-10 years, so Floridians will need to wait and see.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Kit Leong/Shutterstock.com.