Billionaire Owner of In-N-Out Takes A Strong Stand Against Price Hikes Amid California’s New Minimum Wage

Source: Flickr / Flickr/Mike Mozart

Lynsi Snyder, the billionaire heiress who became the president of In-N-Out Burger at 27, has taken a firm stand against California’s rapidly rising minimum wage, opposing the industry’s tendency to inflate prices.

Not Plausible to Raise Prices So Much

During a conversation with NBC’s Savannah Sellers, Snyder revealed her strong stance on this issue.

Source: Digital First Media

Snyder said, “I was sitting in meetings going toe-to-toe saying we can’t raise the prices that much. We can’t.”

California’s Minimum Wage Hike For Fast-Food Workers

California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 1228 into law in September 2023. The bill came into effect recently, thereby raising the minimum wage from $16 to $20 an hour for fast-food employees.

Source: Reddit

The bill affects only those fast-food employees who are working at chains with a minimum of 60 locations nationwide.

Impact On Big Chains

The requirement to pay a minimum of $20 an hour to fast-food employees has become extremely disruptive to the business model of fast-food chains. Chains like Starbucks, Chipotle, and McDonald’s have indicated that they will have to pass on the additional costs in some form.

Source: Pexels

Many fast-food chains have started laying off employees. Pizza Hut has been laying off employees as the company stated it can’t afford the higher costs.

An Advocacy Group Is Demanding That The Minimum Wage Law Be Extended To Other Sectors

An advocacy group aiming to assist working class individuals has been demanding that California state extend the minimum wage law to other sectors as well.

Source: Pexels

Currently, the minimum wage remains $16 an hour across all other sectors.

Prices Increase For Customers

The hike in wages eventually lead to an increase in prices for consumers as the fast food restaurants have to find a way to come up with the extra money needed to pay the increased wages.

Source: Flickr/Jamie

The 41-year-old heiress said she has been trying hard to keep the prices down for the customers of In-N-Out Burger. Snyder said, “Because I felt such an obligation to look out for our customer. When everyone else was taking these jumps, we weren’t.”

Price Hikes

According to the New York Post, prices for burgers at In-N-Out are rising by 25 cents, while the cost of sodas has increased by a nickel.

Source: TikTok/shannon_montipaya

Recently, a TikTok video showing a customer complaining about the price of a $25 deal at a California based McDonald’s has ignited criticism of the state’s  minimum wage hike for fast-food employees. The customer was found saying in the video, “OK, so it’s $25.39 for 40-piece nuggets and two large fries. You couldn’t even throw in a medium Sprite in there? Holy crap.”

Snyder’s Journey

While people might assume a narrative of entitlement for someone like Snyder, who became the president of In-N-Out Burger at 27, her journey tells a different story. Despite her privileges, Snyder started out in entry-level positions and gradually worked her way up to the presidency.

Source: Instagram/lynsi_snyder

Snyder’s journey demonstrates her strong commitment to mastering the intricacies of the company’s operations. Reflecting upon her journey and experiences, Snyder remarked, “I think that there is a stigma that can come with being the owner’s kid.” Snyder added, “And just wanting to be respected, I was doing it the right way and not having special treatment.”

Snyder Doesn’t Want To Push The Costs On To Customers

While many fast food restaurants have been quick to pass on the increased costs onto their customers, Snyder distinguishes herself by steadfastly refusing to impose significant menu price increases.

Source: Instagram/lynsi_snyder

Snyder’s stance in the wake of the minimum wage hike to $20 per hour in the state of California showcases her commitment to keeping dining affordable.

Massive Surge In Prices At Some Chains

According to The New York Post, customers at a Burger King in Los Angeles were taken aback by a recent price hike on the Double Texas Whopper, which has risen almost 12% from $15.09 to $16.89 in a matter of days.

Source: Pexels/momo@land

The price of the Burger King store’s Big Fish sandwich also went up by a staggering 53%. This accounts for a $4 increase from $7.49 to $11.49. These substantial price hikes reflect the current trends in the fast food industry.

Very Minor Hike For The Customers of In-N-Out Burger

Amidst competitors massively increasing their prices, one of Snyder’s In-N-Out locations in Los Angeles made only a modest change by increasing burger prices by merely 25 cents while charging only an extra nickel for drinks.

Source: Flickr

One of the store’s customers, Shawn Fields said to the New York Post, “It’s such a nominal increase. It seems like a reasonable amount.”

Cautious With Embracing Technology

Snyder also prefers to err on the side of caution when it comes to using technology in her business. Her priority is to do whatever is possible to not impact the customer experience.

Source: Flickr

Snyder said, “No to mobile ordering because that impacts the service experience.”

The Company Doesn’t Try To Make Everything Cheaper And Easier For Them

Emphasizing on her company’s commitment to its customer base, Snyder said, “There are a lot of things that could be cheaper, easier, but that’s not the system we go through.”

Source: Pexels

Snyder’s remarks on mobile ordering come in the wake of Chick-Fil-A’s opening a new ‘grab and go’ restaurant in New York City. This location operates without cashiers or seating. Customers are required to pre-order on the phone for pickup. There is no option for indoor dining available at the restaurant.

The Company Wants To Maintain Its Stringent Standards

For almost a decade, In-N-Out Burger has upheld a strict policy against mobile ordering. This commitment became even more prominent when the then-emerging delivery platform DoorDash attempted to deliver the chain’s meals.

Source: Tripadvisor

According to TMZ, in 2015, the company took legal action against DoorDash, citing a lack of trust in third-party services that may not meet the company’s stringent standards for handling and delivering food.

Fully Committed To Her Work

Snyder is the last remaining blood relative of the founders, Harry and Esther Snyder, who launched In-N-Out Burger in 1948. Harry and Esther were Snyder’s grandparents. The company was initially a modest drive-thru burger stand in California but the couple grew it over time into a huge brand. The company grew over time becoming one of the most successful food chains with over 400 locations nationwide.

Source: Wikimedia/Gregory Varnum

Snyder strongly rejects any criticisms of nepotism regarding her role in an influential multi-billion dollar brand. Snyder has always been fully committed to doing her work with integrity and authority.

Maintaining The Brand

Articulating her vision for In-N-Out, Snyder emphasizes the importance of preserving the brand’s unique appeal instead of merely pursuing aggressive nationwide expansion.

Source: Pexels

Snyder prefers to retain the identity and exclusivity of the brand. Hence, choosing to not go for aggressive expansion is a strategic choice for the company. Snyder states, “I don’t see us stretched across the whole U.S.”

Committed To Keeping It A Family Business

Snyder is accustomed to receiving messages and calls urging her to either sell In-N-Out Burger or take the company public with an IPO.

Source: Pexels

Snyder’s answer has consistently been a firm and clear “No.” She values the fact that In-N-Out Burger is a privately-held family-run business. Snyder is also not shy about integrating her faith into her company’s ethos. The Bible verses imprinted on the packaging bear testimony to her commitment and faith. It says, “We’re a family company, we’re a private company, and this is who we are. I’m unashamed of my faith.”

Snyder Was In The List Of Youngest Billionaires When She Assumed Control of The Company

Snyder became one of the world’s youngest billionaires boasting a net worth of $4.2 billion after assuming control of the company in 2010 and acquiring full control in 2017.

Source: Pexels

She reflected on her early days as the president of the company, acknowledging that it took her some time to build confidence in the leadership role. She said, “In the earlier days, I actually wore pant suits, and I did that because I felt like I was supposed to.” Snyder added, “And then I finally just was confident in who I am and who I’m not. You are going to get judged either way. So you might as well be judged for who you are.”

Struggles And Tragedies

The ascent of In-N-Out Burger is marked by a lot of tragedy, including alcohol and drug addiction struggles among family members, an appalling history of child abuse, and shocking demises of family members.

Source: Pexels

Snyder dives deep into the history of the iconic burger chain, allowing us to take a closer look at the tragedies surrounding it, in her book titled The Ins-N-Outs of In-N-Out Burger.

Abuse Within The Household

When Lynsi’s grandfather Harry passed away in 1976, In-N-Out Burger had already grown to 18 locations within Southern California. At the time, Harry’s youngest son, Rich Snyder, assumed leadership of the business.

Source: Pexels

Despite the business success, family life was less than perfect for the Snyders. Lynsi recounted that Harry was a survivor of childhood abuse. This led to him struggling with the responsibilities of fatherhood and the eventual mistreatment he inflicted on two of his children.

Reliance On Prescription Drugs

Lynsi’s father, Guy, experienced a tragic accident at the age of 26 when a friend’s motorcycle landed on him, after flying over a cliff during a desert race, thereby crushing both his arms.

Source: Pexels

In the aftermath of the accident, Guy relied heavily on prescription drugs to manage the pain. This included Vicodin and other opiates that he continued using before and after Lynsi was born.

Drug Addiction

Around the time of Guy’s accident, his brother Rich, who was leading the business, also grappled with drug issues. Rich was addicted to diet pills and also occasionally used cocaine.


Rich tragically passed away while returning home after opening the 93rd location of In-N-Out Burger in Fresno. Rich’s 10-passenger plane crashed and there were no survivors.

Accidental Overdose

Guy struggled with drug and alcohol addiction due to the stress of managing the business combined with the sudden and tragic loss of his brother.

Source: Pexels/Karolina Grabowska

Guy eventually passed away at the age of 48 due to an accidental overdose of hydrocodone. At that time of her father’s death, Snyder was just 17. She hadn’t even graduated high school at the time.

Commitment To Quality And Steady Expansion

In 2010, Snyder assumed full control of In-N-Out Burger as the president of the company.

Source: Pexels/Anete Lusina

Since then, she has been committed to maintaining the quality and standards that the company stands for. She prefers to expand the business steadily but deliberately.

Preference For Remaining Unique

In-N-Out Burger is a distinct brand name and Snyder prefers to keep it that way. Snyder said, “I like that we’re sought after when someone’s coming into town.”

Source: Pexels/Mark Arron Smith

Snyder added, “I like that we’re unique. That we’re not on every corner. You put us in every state, and it takes away some of its luster.”

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Sally Reed

Written by Sally Reed

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