In-N-Out Gets It

People like In-N-Out Burger. A lot. They like it because the food is good–better than the food at similar drive-through restaurants. It’s better because the ingredients are fresh; the meat is never frozen, and they cut the potatoes for the french fries right before dropping them in the oil. But the food is also better because they keep their menu simple. You can get a hamburger, cheeseburger, french fries, a milk shake, or a soda. And that’s all you can get (yeah, there are those “secret” variations, but they’re just twists on existing things, and not products per se). They don’t feel an insane urge to add some disgusting monstrosity to their menu every week. No, the menu has stayed exactly the same since the first store opened in 1948. That is an important point: they only do a few things, so they do those things well.

They care about their product more than they care about graphs and focus groups and mined social-media data. That means the product is objectively better than those of the competition. And they do very well. Their fans are rabid.

This is how you do really well in business–or in art, or in life, or in anything. Focus on a narrow range of things, and do them really, really well. Put your emphasis on the product itself, not the sales thereof. If you make a good product, people will want it. It’s an idea that been around for a very long time, and yet almost everybody gets it wrong.

But there are a few companies who get it.


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