Newlyweds Harry and Esther Snyder open the first In-N-Out burger stand on October 22, 1948. It’s California’s first drive-thru restaurant. The Baldwin Park site at Garvey and Francisquito is barely 10 feet square. It’s also across the street from Harry Snyder’s childhood home.
McDonalds, which began in San Bernardino in 1940, and Carl’s Jr., founded in 1941 in Los Angeles, are contemporaries but it’s the Snyders who pioneer the use of a two-way intercom system allowing drivers to place orders without leaving their car. A second In-N-Out opens two years later.
The original stand is demolished during construction of the Interstate 10 freeway.
Insistence by the Snyders on quality and fresh ingredients contributes to the company’s slow growth. There are only 18 restaurants at the time of Harry Snyder’s death in 1976. The chain doesn’t expand outside of the Los Angeles area until the 1990s, but sees large expansion after that. The first out-of-state restaurant opens in Nevada in 1992 and Arizona in 2000.
Today, the privately-held company is owned by the Snyder’s only grandchild, 38-year-old Lynsi Snyder. Her net worth is estimated at $3 billion. Today, there are more than 347 In-N-Outs in six states.