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.

What do you think? Please scroll down (or click) to post a comment. Or please share the post with your thoughts on LinkedIn – and follow me or connect with me there.

Did you like this post? Make sure you don't miss a post or podcast — Subscribe to get notified about posts via email daily or weekly.

Check out my latest book, The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation:

Get New Posts Sent To You

Select list(s):
Previous articleGuest Post: Communication Tips for Lean Leaders
Next articleHappy New Year! Have a “Stop Doing” List?
Mark Graban
Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker, and podcaster with experience in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. Mark's new book is The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation. He is also the author of Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More, the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, and the anthology Practicing Lean. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.


  1. 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. 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.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.