In 2009, I wrote an organizational change management book, VALUE PLUS: EMPLOYEES AS VALUERS – SIX EASY STEPS FOR SETTING UP YOUR ORGANIZATION TO ADD VALUE. In that book, I describe the Snyders (Esther and Harry) from the time they started the company In-N-Out in 1948 as having an all-abiding faithfulness to the idea that their employees were their business associates – and that if they wanted to have happy customers they needed to have happy employees.
Or, in Ester’s words, “You want to have shining, happy faces working here.” When one visits In-N-Out, whether at the drive-through or inside, there is still that overriding factor of having shining, happy faces that are presented to their customers. It’s a combination that works well. And, if one happens to be using the drive-through, that same cheerful approach is in evidence on the assembly line as one passes along it in the drive-through. I have yet to observe a harsh word or an altercation of any sort among the staff. Recently, I’ve been visiting more frequently because I had heard that the State Democratic Party in California had called for a boycott of the company after they learned that company executives had made a donation to the GOP. I can’t abide any political party going after businesses and trying to do them harm, based on political party affiliation of the owners – That is, in my view, unconscionable – and not to be tolerated! Thus, more frequent visits than usual during the past week, just to show support – for the business – not for party. And I’ve been very pleased to observe during these visits that the company has clearly been reading these pages, where, during the past few months, I’ve been concerned about the training given to the order-takers. (It was over the matter of lettuce on the hamburger – when I ordered “everything on the hamburger except lettuce. And would still get the question, “Do you want onions?” This was maddening.) But in my trips to In-N-Out during this past week, I’m very pleased to report that attention has been paid to the complaint. Order-takers now do it the right way. They don’t ask the redundant question about onions; instead, when they repeat the order they just say, “hamburger without lettuce and with onions.” Which pleases everybody – meets their standards of ensuring that the customer knows about onions and doesn’t create annoyance in the process. So, kudos to In-N-Out for once again keeping not only the employees, but also the customers, in mind while they go about producing just about the finest hamburgers available in the current marketplace. And, congratulations! to the company for having maintained a very fine business for 70 years! Not many companies can lay claim to that accolade.
THE THRIVING OF IN-N-OUT