By December 30, 2009 3 Comments Read More →

Holiday Relaxation: About to Enjoy an In-N-Out Burger

I’m in Tempe, Arizona, about to go enjoy a tasty “Double Double Animal Style” at In-N-Out burger. I really miss the chain after moving a few years ago from Arizona to Texas, as they have no locations outside of driving distance from their meat processing plant (it’s always fresh, never frozen).

What does this have to do with Lean? Not a whole lot … but I do associate the chain with Matthew May’s book In Pursuit of Elegance: Why the Best Ideas Have Something Missing, where Matthew talks about the magic of “what’s missing” from the design of their menu.

25 In N Out Burger sign

Matthew May, a former instructor at Toyota University, really understands the Lean mindset. His book was one my favorites of 2009 and I recommend it as an eye-opening book that will make you think. You can see my video podcasts with Matthew:

  • Videos 4&4b – 5/18/09 – Matt May Part 1, “In Pursuit of Elegance”
  • Video 6 – 7/18/09 – Matt May Part 2
  • Video 8 – Matt May Part 3, “Twitter”

As this blog cited, Matthew talks about In-N-Out in Video #6, about four minutes in.

You can also listen to an audio podcast with Matthew here:

  • Episode #67: (5/22/09) Matthew E. May, “In Pursuit of Elegance”

You can follow Matthew on Twitter @matthewemay or go to his website for more.

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Mark Graban's passion is creating a better, safer, more cost effective healthcare system for patients and better workplaces for all. Mark is a consultant, author, and speaker in the "Lean healthcare" methodology. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. His most recent project is an book titled Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also the VP of Improvement & Innovation Services for the technology company KaiNexus.

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3 Comments on "Holiday Relaxation: About to Enjoy an In-N-Out Burger"

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  1. Mark Graban

    Elaborating a bit on the experience today… I had the fries “well done” for the first time ever, LOVED them, huge improvement over the way the fries are normally cooked. I like them crispy.

    I noticed how cheerful and happy the employees seem to be. Not a surprise, based on previous visits, but always nice to see. Seems like they are having fun in what’s often derided as a “burger flipping” job. What’s the management secret there? I don’t know too much about their management approach.

    I also appreciate how they refer to you as a “guest.” Your receipt / order number is called “your guest number.” It’s a little touch, but way nicer than someone just barking “your # is 73.” “You are guest #73” for being told what to listen for is a nice way to do it.

  2. In-N-Out Burgers is expanding into Utah too. Visit them this May while you’re attending the Shingo Prize Conference in Salt Lake City – the 2010 Global Summit on Operational Excellence.

  3. Mark Welch says:

    Dang! I was in CA in October and wanted to try one of those In-N-Out Burgers (never been to one) but was outvoted by my wife and her sister! Next time I’ll be less democratic about it.

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