People visit the city of Omaha, Nebraska, for many reasons, whether it's to work for one of the several Fortune 500 companies in the area, to stay in one of their luxurious hotels, or to watch a game during the College World Series. However, when people visit, the one thing they’re missing is an In-N-Out restaurant. Yes, there are none in the city or in the entire state of Nebraska, but could that change in the future? Today we’ll answer the essential question: When could In-N-Out Burger finally open in Omaha, Nebraska?
Why Does Nebraska Want In-N-Out in Nebraska?
So, could In-N-Out Burger finally open in Omaha, Nebraska? The question is on the mind of many people in the city, and for good reason. Though the restaurants are not in every state, In-N-Out is a very famous chain, and even people who have never been to one have heard of it before as well as how great the food there can be.
This chain, which was started in 1948 in Baldwin, California, revolutionized the burger industry. It was one of the first major burger restaurants in the state of California, and the owners, Esther and Harry Snyder, even created one of the first speaker systems that allowed customers to order from their cars. Things were much simpler in 1948, and so the restaurant only offered three meal options: a cheeseburger, a hamburger, and a hamburger with two patties. In order to stay unique in the restaurant world, they kept those as the only three options up until this day.
Of course, the restaurant also sells fries, soft drinks, and shakes, and they also have a secret menu that you can look up online. However, they don’t use the same old ingredients as other restaurants. Instead, they insist on only using the freshest ingredients, and they prove it by cutting and cooking burgers and fries right in front of the customer. In-N-Out has retained its popularity until this day, and it continues to expand and build new restaurants all the time.
Are There Any In-N-Out Restaurants In Nebraska At All?
There are not currently any In-N-Out restaurants in Nebraska. However, there are some states that do have In-N-Out restaurants that are somewhat nearby, though it would be quite a drive to get to one of them.
At this time, there are 294 In-N-Out locations in 279 cities in America. Most of the locations are in the West. Most restaurants are in California. The rundown of the current restaurants goes as follows:
- Texas (41 locations)
- California (272 locations)
- Utah (12 locations)
- Arizona (34 locations)
- Nevada (23 locations)
- Colorado (8 locations)
- Oregon (4 locations)
Residents of Nebraska would need to take quite a road trip to get to the closest locations. The best bet would be to travel to nearby Texas, Colorado, or even Utah.
What Chances Does Omaha Have of Getting an In-N-Out?
This question doesn’t have an exact answer. On one hand, Nebraska is on the western side of the Mississippi River, and that’s where all In-N-Out restaurants are currently located.
The company chooses where new restaurants will be located based on its own rule that every restaurant must be within 600 miles of a distribution center. They do that because they insist that their food is made fresh, and they don’t want to wait days for beef patties, potatoes, and other products to be shipped from across the country. When restaurants are near distribution centers, they never have to worry that they won't have the supplies they need.
The problem for Omaha, Nebraska, is where the distribution centers are located. Currently, there are six of these centers, and they’re located in Dallas, Texas; Phoenix, Arizona; Lathrop, California; Draper, Utah; Colorado Springs, Colorado; and Baldwin Park, California. Recently, there was news that the In-N-Out company would be opening its first office/distribution center east of the Mississippi. It will be located in Franklin, Tennessee. After the center is complete, they will start to build restaurants in Tennessee.
Now, that Tennessee office will be too far away from Omaha to be within the 600 miles required to open stores in Nebraska, but some of the other distribution centers are closer. The Dallas, Texas, distribution center is about 650 miles from Omaha, so it’s closer, though not within 600 miles. The other closest option is the Colorado Springs center. That location is just over 600 miles away, so if the In-N-Out company is willing to stretch its rules a little, then a move to Omaha could be possible in the future.
When Could In-N-Out Burger Finally Open in Omaha, Nebraska?
The answer to that question is still up in the air. When talking about the move to Tennessee, the current president of In-N-Out, Lynsi Snyder-Ellingson, said that many states request that the company builds restaurants within their borders. While she wasn’t specific about what state they’d be moving to next, she did tell the interviewer not to worry, and that others would be included in the plan eventually. So, anything’s possible.
The new Tennessee factory is set to start construction in 2024 and end by 2026. Since the company is unlikely to build two factories in two different states at the same time, any hope of an In-N-Out in Omaha wouldn’t be for at least another 5+ years.
What’s Working Against Omaha, Nebraska?
Although there are points in Omaha’s favor, there are many things going against the chances of seeing an IN-N-Out in Nebraska. One of them is that the state simply does not have the population numbers that would be attractive to In-N-Out ownership. As of the 2021 census, there are about 488,000 people living in Omaha and just shy of two million people living in the entire state. Even Utah, the state with the lowest population that currently has In-N-Out restaurants, has over three million people. So, it’s very likely that the owner of the burger chain wouldn’t believe that there’s enough of a customer base to justify spending a lot of money to build a new restaurant.
The other major factor working against Omaha’s chances is that there hasn’t been any news about In-N-Out even considering going to Nebraska. The owners have talked about the possibility of going to other states, but there’s been very little spoken about Omaha. That doesn’t mean that they’re not thinking about it, but it doesn’t bode well.
Other Famous Restaurants Not Yet In Omaha, Nebraska
There are many different stores and companies that have yet to set up in Omaha, Nebraska, including Macy’s, Ross Stores, Neiman Marcus, and more. There are also many restaurants that are not yet in the state, they include:
- Jack in the Box – This other famous burger chain sells everything, from burgers and sandwiches to tacos. Unfortunately, though many are on the West Coast, they’ve yet to go to Nebraska.
- Waffle House – This waffle and pancake restaurant seems to be all over the country, but they're not yet in Nebraska.
- BJ’s Restaurant & Brewery – It’s a beloved sit-down restaurant that sells everything from pasta to steak. They’d be a welcome addition in Nebraska.
- Del Taco – It’s a restaurant like Taco Bell, and they have many restaurants on the West Coast, but not in Omaha.
- El Pollo Loco – This is another west coast favorite that sells chicken in a variety of ways. They’ve yet to venture to Omaha.
- White Castle – They sell bite-sized burgers in a sack. It’s a great restaurant, but the citizens of Omaha would likely have to drive to the Midwest to get them.
- California Pizza Kitchen – Despite its name, this pizza chain is in many states, but not Nebraska.
- Einstein Bros. Bagels – This beloved breakfast place has a lot to offer, but they’re not in Nebraska.
So when could In-N-Out Burger finally open in Omaha, Nebraska? The answer is not clear. While Nebraska is in the West, and that’s where the burger chain opens its restaurants, there hasn’t been a lot of talk about going to Omaha. Still, anything is possible. In the meantime, Omaha residents can drive to Colorado when they need their burger fix.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©samroundy/Shutterstock.com.