Since In-N-Out was founded in 1948, the beloved West Coast burger chain has never closed a restaurant ... until now. The reason for the break in tradition? Crime in the area surrounding an In-N-Out location in Oakland, California. The restaurant in question is close to the Oakland International Airport, and Chief Operating Officer Denny Warnick said in a statement that employees and customers experience regular theft, property damage, car break-ins, and armed robberies. Warnick noted that In-N-Out made repeated efforts to make the location safer for all parties involved, but the establishment will be closing on March 24, 2024.
Ultimately, the decision came down to safety alone. "We feel the frequency and severity of the crimes being encountered by our customers and associates leave us no alternative," said Warnick (via AP News). Employees will have the option to either transfer to another In-N-Out location or accept a severance package. As this is currently the chain's only restaurant in Oakland, locals will soon have to visit nearby Alameda to get their fix of double doubles and animal-style fries.
In-N-Out Pledges To Continue Charitable Contributions In Oakland
While the restaurant's closing is a first for the chain in its 75 years of business, unsafe conditions in the area are not a new occurrence. According to ABC News, as of January 2, Oakland robberies have increased 38% since 2022. Plus, burglaries have shot up 23% during the same timeframe, and the amount of motor vehicle thefts has risen by 44%. Oakland's restaurant scene already received a little heat earlier in January, when critic Keith Lee cut his food tour short in the Bay Area, citing homelessness and perceived lack of city involvement as some of the reasons for leaving. Yet despite all this, the Oakland In-N-Out location has remained open for 18 years.
Warnick said in the statement that although the restaurant is closing in a few months, the chain will continue to contribute to the area through philanthropy, which it has a history of doing since before the Oakland location originally opened. The chain gives back through two main charities: The In-N-Out Burger Foundation, which helps abused and neglected children, and the Slave 2 Nothing Foundation, which aims to abolish human trafficking and help people heal from substance abuse. So, while the city's animal-style fries and mustard burgers will be leaving, In-N-Out may still have a positive lingering presence in Oakland.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.