The burger and cola wars were my introduction to capitalism as a child. Two companies, with essentially the same product, fighting for customers.
Were you a Pepsi or Coke person? A McDonald’s or Burger King person? And if you preferred Wendy’s or RC Cola, well, it was best you kept that to yourself.
As a consumer I never really understood why this was such a big deal for people. None of it could be as terrible as Crystal Pepsi.
As people become more and more health conscious — and as younger people have less money to spend — places like McDonald’s and major cola companies see their sales drop.
McDonald’s and its “Experience of the Future” initiative sees them introducing self-ordering kiosks, table-locating technology for food delivered to your table, and a new desserts table.
All of these new moves join additional recent additions such as all-day breakfast and the McCafe.
In contrast to the frantic McDonald’s approach, some places have chosen simplicity itself. In-N-Out burger has kept to the basics for most of its life: burgers, fries and shakes.
Of course In-N-Out is not known ONLY for the simplicity of its menu. It is also known for its secret menu of wonders and delight.
Where else can you get The Flying Dutchman, Neopolitan Shake, and Cheese Fries? You know it. I know it. Fast food menus can be weird.
Change does happen though. It is an essential part of life. Fifteen years ago, In-N-Out added lemonade to its menu.
Inspired by that change a mere decade and a half later, In-N-Out has chosen to make another change.
Starting Jan, 1, In-N-Out is selling hot cocoa with little packs of marshmallows at all 328 locations.
By all reports these are not just seasonal offerings but will be on offer year-round, $1.60 in the 8-ounce offering and $2.45 for the 16-ounce offer.
Maybe simple is better. Maybe in the era of the simplicity of the Google homepage what we want is simpler, cleaner options. I wish In-N-Out luck as they expand operations away from the west coast and into Colorado.
Fans of the burger chain are having very mixed reactions. Some are elated that on of their favorite beverages will now be offered at one of their favorite fast food restaurants: others are upset that In-N-Out would mess with its standard fare.
Still others are miffed that the indulgent drink is being made with water, not milk. But it is being made with Ghirardelli chocolate, so… perhaps it evens out?
As we head away from New Year’s and into the non-holiday portion of the year, I wish you all wonderful days of reflection and connection. I raise a cup of In-N-Out hot cocoa to you.
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