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Newsletter #729: The “Lessons From In-N-Out Burger” Issue

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In-N-Out Burger is a 232-chain family-owned restaurant that beats McDonald's and Burger King on per-store sales. Here's a few lessons they can teach us:

   1> Make your employees feel like rock stars
   2> Make your talkers feel like insiders
   3> Give your fans the chance to show you off
   4> Check it out: Adding links to YouTube clips

1> Make your employees feel like rock stars

Your employees represent the face of your company and few organizations understand that better than In-N-Out Burger. From the beginning, In-N-Out has paid employees well above the average salaries for similar jobs, insisted on calling employees "associates," and provided great benefits. And once, for a Christmas outing to a performance of "The Nutcracker," former beloved CEO Rich Snyder (who died in a plane crash in 1993) insisted his managers wear tuxedos — he considered them on the same level as any blue-chip manager and wanted them to feel that way, too.

The Lesson: Earn the loyalty and respect of your front-line employees and they'll pass that love to the customer.

Learn More: BusinessWeek

2> Make your talkers feel like insiders

If you were to casually stop by an In-N-Out Burger for the first time, you'd never know there was a secret menu you could order from — and that's the beauty of it. Only insiders know to ask for a "3-by-3" (three beef patties, three slices of cheese) or a "Flying Dutchman" (two beef patties, two slices of cheese — and nothing else, not even a bun). This leads to a bunch of fans sharing their inside information, trying to figure out all the secret menu items, and telling everyone about new discoveries they've made.

The Lesson: Feeling like an insider with great information to share is one of the biggest motivators for someone to talk about you.

3> Give your fans the chance to show you off

In-N-Out Burger has a full-fledged online store of branded gear fans can purchase to show their love for the company. Fans can buy T-shirts, hats, sandals, beach towels, license plate frames — you name it. This wouldn't work if they hadn't done all the other great stuff to earn the fans in the first place, but once they developed their fan base, they made it easy for the folks that were willing to pay to advertise them.

The Lesson: Your biggest fans love to show you off, so make it really easy and give them lots of ways to do it.

Learn More: In-N-Out Shop

4> Check it out: Adding links to YouTube clips

Did you know you can easily add links to your YouTube clips? LinkedTube is a simple website that allows you to add a button to your videos in the upper-right corner. You can make the button say whatever you want, link wherever you want, and can even add hover text and adjust when the button is displayed. Once you're done, you're given an embed code for your new "linked" video.

Check it out: LinkedTube

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Comments

  1. Clay Hebert May 4, 2009 at 2:49 pm #

    Great post, Andy. In and Out is a great example of a company who gets it and these lessons are simple and instructive.

  2. Heather Blume May 5, 2009 at 10:57 am #

    Excellent post! It proves you don’t have to be complicated to be the best.

  3. Rachel May 6, 2009 at 1:09 pm #

    The buzz In n Out has generated is amazing. Before they opened an In n Out in my town, the closest one was a 3 hour drive and people of all ages would make the trek on weekends just to get a burger, fries and a milkshake. Some would argue that it’s not as good as the hype, but the factors you’ve mentioned above certainly contribute to their fans’ perception of the company and the food. Even though the restaurant here has been open a few years, there is still a long line at the drive thru and inside no matter the time of day. Long live In n Out!

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