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In-N-Out is making a rare expansion into Tennessee, but it will be years before any restaurants open — here’s why

A photo of an In-N-Out Burger locationIn-N-Out is expanding to its eighth state – Tennessee.

George Rose/Getty Images

  • In-N-Out, which turns 75 this year, is expanding to its eighth state – Tennessee.
  • But the first restaurant won’t open in Nashville until 2026.
  • Here’s why it takes so long for In-N-Out to open restaurants in new states. 

In-N-Out announced plans Tuesday to open its famed burger restaurants in Tennessee – marking two significant milestones for the iconic California chain. Tennessee will be In-N-Out’s 8th state and the closest region to the East Coast – where Double-Double fans have yearned for locations closer to home. 

But don’t jump in your cars for an Animal-Style burger just yet. 

The fast-food chain said the first restaurants in Nashville won’t open until 2026

“We are very excited to provide Tennesseans with our quality burgers, fries, and shakes,” Lynsi Snyder, In-N-Out owner and president, said in a statement. “In every decision I make, I always consider what my family would want. I have no doubt that my grandparents, dad, and uncle would be proud of this decision to grow our associate family and serve even more amazing customers beginning in Nashville and the surrounding areas.” 

Snyder is the only granddaughter and heir of Harry and Esther Snyder, who founded In-N-Out in Baldwin Park, California, in 1948.

The company said it will build “an Eastern territory office” in Franklin, Tennessee. Snyder noted this is the furthest “east than we’ve ever been.”

The three-year timeline to open in the state is standard for the chain. It took about three years for In-N-Out to open the first Colorado restaurant after announcing expansion there in 2017. 

Why does it take so long to open In-N-Out in a new region? 

The privately-held fast-food chain, beloved by both celebrities and everyday burger lovers, takes a systematic approach to growth. It controls every step of the business – from processing its beef patties to hauling restaurant supplies to each store using its fleet of distribution trucks.  

The brand’s hallmark is quality control, as leaders insist on keeping standards set nearly 75 years ago by Harry and Esther Snyder. Those standards include stores stocked with fresh beef patties created from whole chucks boned and ground by In-N-Out’s butchers.

When the chain expanded to Texas and Colorado, it had to build its distribution and beef production facilities. They also have to find a baker to produce the chain’s famous sponge-dough buns.  

The same will be true for Tennessee, as In-N-Out doesn’t build restaurants further than 500 miles from its distribution centers. Longer delivery runs reduce quality control, executives previously told the Orange County Register

“It’s not even negotiable,” In-N-Out executive Mark Taylor said at the time. 

In-N-Out operates about 385 locations in California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Texas, Oregon, and Colorado. 

“This expansion is significant for our company,” Snyder said. “Our customers are our most important asset at In-N-Out, and we very much look forward to serving them in years to come and becoming part of the wonderful communities in The Volunteer State.” 

Read the original article on Business Insider