An In-N-Out employee reveals 10 secrets you never knew about the burger chain

There's a lot you may not know about In-N-Out.

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There’s a lot you may not know about In-N-Out.
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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

  • In a recent Reddit AMA, an In-N-Out employee answered a variety of questions about secret menu items and what it’s like to work at the chain.
  • Favorite secret menu items include the grilled cheese, the Flying Dutchman, and the root beer float.
  • The only discount the chain gives out is to police officers in uniform, and every employee gets one free meal during their shift.
  • Visit INSIDER’s home page for more stories.

Just because you know a fast food chain’s menu, doesn’t mean you know what goes on behind its kitchen doors.

We took a look at a recent Reddit AMA with In-N-Out employee and Redditor booshley to see what she’s learned after working at the chain for close to two years.

Keep scrolling for secret menu items and things you probably never knew about the fast food chain.


The Flying Dutchman is a favorite secret menu item.

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Just ditch the buns.
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Ross Bruniges/Flickr

When asked what her favorite secret menu item was, booshley responded with the Flying Dutchman for a savory meal, and a root beer float for dessert. The Flying Dutchman consists of two slices of cheese sandwiched between two beef patties; booshley said she usually adds a grilled onion on top.


Employees get one free meal during every shift.

While employees don’t get a discount that they can give to family or friends, they do get a free meal on every shift. According to booshley, employees can order almost anything on the menu up to the size of a double double. The only things they can’t get for free are animal style fries or milkshakes.


The only discount In-N-Out gives out is for police officers.

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Don’t count on getting a discount unless you’re a cop.
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Shinya Suzuki/Flickr

The only people who get discounts at the chain are police officers, the employee said. However, they have to be in uniform to receive it. She also said that this is apparently because seeing an officer in uniform in the restaurant makes customers feel safer.


There are plenty of ways to customize your burger.

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You can get creative with your burger order.
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Jeremy Keith / Flickr

Despite the fact that In-N-Out doesn’t serve bacon, the chain offers plenty of other burger toppings. Booshley suggests adding chopped chiles if you like spice, or asking for a mustard fried patty for something different. For a mustard burger, she says a cook adds mustard to the meat while it’s grilling, and then places pickles on the burger’s bottom bun.


The grilled cheese is a great alternative to the burger.

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The grilled cheese is a fan favorite for those who don’t eat meat.
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Denise Cross Photography/Flickr

If you’re not a meat eater, booshley recommends trying In-N-Out’s grilled cheese, another one of her favorite menu items. The sandwich is essentially a cheeseburger without the meat; it’s simply a toasted bun loaded with slices of cheese. Booshley recommends ordering the bun “extra toasted” with extra spread and grilled onions.


The meat is fresh.

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In-N-Out’s meat is never frozen.
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Chris Makarsky / Flickr

In response to one Redditor’s question about where In-N-Out’s meat comes from, booshley answered that it’s all local, since the chain is not allowed to freeze any of their meat. Therefore, the source of the meat depends on where that particular restaurant is located.

Because booshley works at a location in California, she said the meat comes from a farm somewhere in the state.


In-N-Out cares a lot about presentation.

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You will never be handed a messy tray.
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Yelp/Annie L.

The employee said that the chain prides itself on two things: quality and presentation. This is why employees won’t place more than two burgers and two fries on one tray, or more than four fries or six burgers on one tray.

And for those customers who don’t want to have to make two trips to bring their order to the table, booshley says that employees should know to help diners carry all their trays to the table.


There’s a limit as to how many patties In-N-Out will stack.

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The largest burger the chain will assemble is a 4×4.
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punctuated / Flickr

Although the West Coast chain has become known for its crazy stacks of meat and cheese, it turns out there’s a limit to how many patties they’ll stack. For presentation’s sake, booshley says the largest burger In-N-Out will assemble is a 4×4 (four patties and four slices of cheese).

If diners want more than that, the chain will serve them the components, but they won’t actually put the burger together.


There’s a very specific way employees are told to hand out napkins.

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There’s a reason why the napkins are covering the fries.
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Scott J./Yelp

One Redditor asked why napkins are always placed on top of burgers, saying that this was a pet peeve that leads to the napkins being covered in sauce before they’re even used. Booshley explained that they’re instructed to give out one napkin per burger and one napkin per order of fries. Protein style burgers come with an extra napkin, since they’re particularly messy.

In terms of why the napkins are placed on top of the food, booshley simply responded that this is the only place they have room to put them, but suggested asking for extra napkins if needed.


The uniforms aren’t the best.

According to booshley, the pants that employees are required to wear aren’t ideal for extreme heat. She said they will “kill you” if you happen to be taking orders outside on a particularly steamy day. She also commented that female employees have it worse than male employees when it comes to hats.

“We have to tuck our ponytails in and bobby pin the hat to our hair otherwise it will fall off. It’s just a much bigger hassle than the hats the boys get to wear,” booshley said.