Another interesting thing about In N Out is their secret menu, or as they call it, their “not so secret menu”. This figures in to the idea I brought up in my last post about food defining social groups. As you can see, my double double has no bun. Instead it is “protein style”: wrapped in lettuce with no bread. In N Out also offers to make the items on the menu “animal style,” or with extra spread, pickles, and grilled onions. Furthermore, if the two patties and two cheese of the double double isn’t enough for you, In N Out offers a 3×3 or a 4×4. In fact, when I was in high school, I witnessed a friend take down a 20×20. That’s right, 20 meat and 20 cheese, and they had to serve it lying down in two to-go boxes.
What is interesting, however, is what In N Out has to say about their secret menu:
In N Out acknowledges the fact that the concept of a secret menu leads to exclusion, and chooses to negate the whole idea. Thus, there becomes a contradiction between what the customer wants, being a part of an exclusive group that knows the secret, and what In N Out wants, for everyone to feel like they are a part of the exclusive group, making it the exact opposite of exclusive. This contradiction, however, does not alienate customers; instead, it makes In N Out accessible to more people, while still making the individual feel special.