« Back to Home Page

Sign up for the 3p daily dispatch:

Should In-N-Out Burger Dump Its Trash Cans?

| Thursday April 9th, 2009 | 6 Comments

I find absolutely no shame in admitting that I love In-N-Out Burger. And I should add that I’m on my second year as a vegetarian… I get the grilled cheese, one of many off menu options.
The 60 year old, privately owned In-N-Out has long celebrated its freezer-less approach to serving its food fresher than the competition. The company has also always paid its employees significantly more than state and federally-mandated minimum wage guidelines, and you can tell by the moods of their employees. In-N-Out has even quietly eliminated some of the trash it serves, with the replacement of those cardboard boxes served on plastic trays with reusable plastic trays, shaped like the old cardboard boxes.
But for a company that has believed in fresher food (and even received one of few accolades in the book, Fast Food Nation), positive work environments, and fairly compensated work, In-N-Out hasn’t yet taken what seems to be any easy opportunity to lead by eliminating trash entirely from its more than 140 locations. You don’t have to be the McDonald’s center of attention to lead.
My idea is this. Replace cups, lids, straws, burger wrappers, french fry trays and tray liners with compostable alternatives. The compact menu actually makes the transition straight forward. With one call to the owners of Mixt Greens, another great California business, I am sure they would be lead in the right direction and that the suppliers would be happy to put those secret bible verses on their wares, to get the business.
So I posted this idea on the quietly relaunched, all new dotherightthing.com, where you can show your support and help the idea grow into reality. With enough support, the business case will be clear and their marketing will have been done for In-N-Out Corporate. And of course, if you have ideas for In-N-Out or another company, you can post them to the site as well.


This is powerful stuff… it has changed Dell’s and Starbucks’ businesses, and another idea I suggested recently had the company, Virgin America, emailing me for more thoughts.
Other ideas worth checking out:
Wells Fargo Microfinance Savings Accounts
In-store Recycling at Starbucks
Improved iPhone Developer Approval Transparency at Apple
More Sustainable, Longer-Lasting Swiffer Products
Reusable Cups Onboard Virgin America Flights
A disclosure: I was one of the co-founders of the original dotherightthing. But, I simply played an advisory role in the development of the new site, which is why I know that it quietly relaunched. I really, really love the new site and think it has huge potential, much like my feelings about In-N-Out.


▼▼▼      6 Comments     ▼▼▼

Newsletter Signup
  • Nick Aster

    I love this, and I think In n’ Out could actually pull it off. I dropped into an In n’Out a few weeks ago and couldn’t believe the pile of paper I produced from one simple order.
    How about they also use washable cups for sodas if you don’t get it to-go? The rest of the stuff could easily be replaced with simple compostables at low cost.

  • http://mixergy.com Andrew Warner

    From what I know about this company, I think they’ll listen to your call.

  • Ryan Mickle

    Email received today, in response to my sharing the link to this post:
    Dear Ryan Mickle:
    Thank you for your e-mail. Our customers have made us the Company we are today, and we appreciate hearing from you!
    We would also like to thank you for your sharing the link to an article you posted about In-N-Out Burger. We have shared your comments with our Management Team. You can be sure your wonderful ideas will be considered in our ongoing effort to provide the best service to our customers.
    Thank you for taking the time to contact us.
    Sincerely,
    Heather Ocello
    Customer Service Representative

  • koa

    What about pesticide-free and local produce? Grass-fed beef? I care first about how the cow who made my vegetarian grilled cheese was treated than if I toss a cardboard box! Or how the people live who get water from the river downstream from the tomatoes and lettuce that In-N-Out buys and sells to me…

  • jimmymac501

    I've been taking a Health Psychology class at CSUF and I can tell you that everything I've learned about In N Out is positive as far as how they treat their employees, to the food they serve. I would love to see them offer grass-fed beef only!! and be the first to start a trend in healthy fast-food! People are ready for it and it can work. This people-friendly, values-driven company would sky-rocket worldwide. I recently saw an episode of Calif's Gold with Huell Howser about the co. It was fascinating. they don't use beef from the mega-corporate food-supply! They process their own. Their burgers taste better too! Support this company and give them feedback.

  • jimmymac501

    I've been taking a Health Psychology class at CSUF and I can tell you that everything I've learned about In N Out is positive as far as how they treat their employees, to the food they serve. I would love to see them offer grass-fed beef only!! and be the first to start a trend in healthy fast-food! People are ready for it and it can work. This people-friendly, values-driven company would sky-rocket worldwide. I recently saw an episode of Calif's Gold with Huell Howser about the co. It was fascinating. they don't use beef from the mega-corporate food-supply! They process their own. Their burgers taste better too! Support this company and give them feedback.

  • Pingback: In-N-Out: Sustainable Fast-Food? « Noetic Musing()

  • Pingback: In-N-Out: Sustainable Fast-Food? : Noetic Musings()