DENVER — Burger-loving Coloradans lined up Friday by the hundreds — if not thousands — to welcome the long-awaited arrival of In-N-Out Burger, which unveiled Friday its first two locations in the Centennial State.
The California-based, family-owned fast-food joint — which is famously careful about where and how it expands — held grand openings in Aurora and Colorado Springs, with plans for a third location in Lone Tree and eventual openings in Lakewood and Fort Collins.
“Beginning November 20, 2020, In-N-Out hamburgers, shakes, and fries will be served in Colorado as the first locations open in Colorado Springs and Aurora,” said the company in a statement.
To say Friday’s opening was a big deal might be an understatement. In Colorado Springs, the Gazette posted video of what appeared to be hundreds of cars waiting for miles in the drive-thru line. The first customer reportedly queued up on Tuesday.
In Aurora, the drive-thru line at 10:15 a.m. wrapped around the sprawling Town Centre mall, as shown in aerial shots by CBS4 Denver.
Coloradans have sought for decades to welcome the Irvine-based business, but the Snyder family, which founded the company as a drive-thru hamburger stand in 1948, does not franchise its restaurants in an effort to ensure the quality of its product.
After In-N-Out began opening sites in Utah in 2008, Colorado college students along the Front Range began a tradition of making the 500-mile drive for Double Doubles, animal fries and shakes, and then returning to their dorms on the same day.
In-N-Out announced in November 2017 that it would move into Colorado, first building a 100,000-square-foot distribution center and patty production center in Colorado Springs.
The Aurora and Colorado Springs locations will each employ about 80 associates with a starting wage of $14.50 per hour, according to the company. Each will have a drive-thru lane and seating for 74, although novel coronavirus restrictions will prevent indoor dining initially.
Known for its white-red-and-yellow retro styling, customer service, secret menu, and Bible verses on its cups and wrappers, In-N-Out currently has more than 350 locations in California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Texas and Oregon.
“In-N-Out was founded by Harry and Esther Snyder and is still owned and operated by the Snyder family,” said the company’s press release. “None of the units are franchised.”