My word for the year is “Discover”, so I wanted to share with you what I discovered about the hamburger chain, In-N-Out Burger.
You can only find these drive-thru and eat-in restaurants in the western United States, so I don’t have any personal experience with the chain. But you sure do hear about it, especially during award season in Hollywood. Movie stars talk about treating themselves to a burger there, and even have parties catered by the company. Famous chefs like Gordon Ramsey, Julia Child and Anthony Bourdain have admitted to being fans of the food, adding to the chains good name.
So did I discover that this food is popular and must be very good? Yes. But that’s not the discovery that surprised me. What I really loved discovering about this company, was it’s corporate culture.
In-N-Out Burger was created by Harry and Esther Snyder in 1948. It was one of the first companies to pay it’s employees more than the state and federally mandated minimum wage. The Snyders also established the In-N-Out Burger Foundation, which “supports organizations that provide residential treatment, emergency shelter, foster care and early intervention for children in need.” As a former foster mom who had a child that needed early intervention, I really appreciate this worthy goal. In the year 2010, the foundation gave away over 1.5 million dollars in grants in the states of Arizona, California, Nevada and Utah.
And that’s not all.
The Snyder family is Christian, and are proud and open about it. They backed up that faith by starting a beautiful practice in the 1980’s. Very quietly, very subtly, they started placing bible passages in out of the way places on the food packaging materials.
You might have to look a little carefully to see them, but they’re there. The Snyder Family wanted to subtly evangelize their Christian faith, and made a decision to pass along the words of the bible by printing passages. I think it’s a genius move. They certainly could have printed the whole text instead of citing the Chapters and verses. But why not pique interest? Why not move an attentive person to actually look up the Chapter? That would make the experience so much more personal. Just about everyone has a smartphone these days, perfect for searching for the verse.
Two thousand years ago, civilization revolved around faith. Governments professed faith in God, and just about every citizen held their faith life in great esteem. Spiritual and earthly lives were woven together, a seamless garment, making lives whole.
Well, we’re not living in a time like that anymore. Many seem to drift their own ways, and even talking about faith is considered rude when meeting in a social setting.
So that’s why I found it so refreshing to see this company put some encouragement and faith back into everyday life. Imagine the surprise a patron would experience, seeing Scripture printed on a soda cup, or a french fry packet!
A small thing. But it’s an impressive step toward reweaving that seamless garment.
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