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In-N-Out Burger: A Behind-the-Counter Look at the Fast-Food Chain That Breaks All the Rulesby Stacy Perman
Synopses & Reviews
The untold story of the renegade burger chain that evokes a passionate following unlike any other.
In fast-food corporate America, In-N-Out Burger stands apart. Begun in a tiny shack in the shadow of World War II, this family-owned chain has steadfastly refused to franchise or be sold. It is a testament to old-fashioned values and reminiscent of a simpler time when people, loyalty, and a freshly made, juicy hamburger meant something. Over time, In-N-Out Burger has become nothing less than a cultural institution that can lay claim to an insanely loyal following.
Perman uses her investigative skills to uncover the story of a real American success story. It is not only a tale of a unique and profitable business that exceeds all expectations, but of a family's struggle to maintain a sustainable pop empire against the industry it helped pioneer, internal tensions, and a bitter lawsuit that threatened to bring the company to the brink.
This is a lesson in a counterintuitive approach to doing business that places quality, customers, and employees over the riches promised by rapid expansion. In-N-Out Burger is a keenly observed narrative that explores the evolution of a California fad that transformed into an enduring cult of popularity; it is also the story of the conflicted, secretive, and ultimately tragic Snyder family who cooked a billion burgers and hooked a zillion fans. As the story of In-N-Out Burger unfolds, so too does the cultural history of America as influenced and shaped by car culture and fast food.
"Perman (Spies, Inc.) casts an affectionate and admiring eye at In-N-Out Burger, the family-owned, Southern California chain that has become a 'cultural institution' without franchising, going public, changing its menu or precooking its burgers. This book traces the history of the company and the Snyders, the family that founded and still owns In-N-Out, interspersed with the evolution of the fast-food industry. Perman never makes good on her promise to go 'behind-the-counter' and analyze the company's dealings — her access to executives and family members did not extend to gleaning financial or strategic information — consequently it's never clear whether In-N-Out's conservatism is a conscious business strategy, a personal preference of the owners or plain complacency. More a glowing fan letter from an appreciative customer than expose, this book has more to say about the company's celebrity fans, American family dynamics and our collective love affair with fast food." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Interest in this sometimes plodding text will be proportionate to the reader's affinity for the brand. Recommended..." Library Journal
"Stacy Perman's illuminating new book, In-N-Out Burger, is an absorbing case study of how a family business came to be at the center of its own cheerful cult.... [This] should be required reading for family business owners, alongside Rich Cohen's Sweet and Low and Thomas Mann's Buddenbrooks." Fortune Small Business
"This book grills up an enjoyable read for both avid foodies and novice diners alike! Perman's sneak peek into the fascinating history of In-N-Out is as good as the delicious burgers themselves, and that's saying a lot!" Mario Batali, chef and author of Molto Italiano
"Thanks to Stacy Perman's book, the term 'soulful fast food' is no longer an oxymoron. Her recounting of the In-N-Out story is one of passion,good intentions, remarkable success and treachery that transcends the burger world to become a tale that is vivid Americana." Jane and Michael Stern, Roadfood.com
Perman investigates the inside story of the renegade, family-owned burger chain that evokes a passionate following unlike any other. 8-page photo insert.
“This book grills up an enjoyable read for both avid foodies and novice diners alike! Permans sneak peek into the fascinating history of In-N-Out is as good as the delicious burgers themselves.”
—Mario Batali, celebrity chef and author of Molto Italiano
A behind-the-counter look at the fast-food chain that breaks all the rules, Stacy Permans In-N-Out Burger is the New York Times bestselling inside story of the family behind the California-based hamburger chain with a cult following large enough to rival the Grateful Deads. A juicy unauthorized history of a small business-turned-big business titan, In-N-Out Burger was named one of Fast Company magazines Best Business Books of 2009, and Fortune Small Business insists that it “should be required reading for family business owners, alongside Rich Cohens Sweet and Low and Thomas Manns Buddenbrooks.”
About the Author
Stacy Perman is a writer with BusinessWeek. A former correspondent for Time, she has also written for Los Angelesmagazine, the Los Angeles Times, and the Wall Street Journal. She is the author of Spies, Inc.: Business Innovation from Israel's Masters of Espionage. Born in Los Angeles, she currently lives in New York.
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