Popular west-coast burger chain In-N-Out is hard to come by east of the pacific, but an Alabama lawmaker’s invitation for the chain to open its doors across the country could gain support among the masses.
Earlier this week, news of the restaurant’s $25,000 donation to the California Republican Party sparked significant outrage in its home state of California, causing many to even call for a boycott of the establishment altogether.
A photo of the Aug. 27 transaction from the California secretary of state’s website began circulating and it wasn’t long before #BoycottInNOut was trending on Twitter.
“Et tu In-N-Out?” tweeted Eric Bauman, Chair of the California Democratic Party. “Tens of thousands of dollars donated to the California Republican Party… it’s time to #BoycottInNOut – let Trump and his cronies support these creeps… perhaps animal style!”
Et tu In-N-Out? Tens of thousands of dollars donated to the California Republican Party… it’s time to #BoycottInNOut – let Trump and his cronies support these creeps… perhaps animal style!https://t.co/9zkdFaG5CJ
— EricBauman (@EricBauman) August 30, 2018
“I hate that In-N-Out has probably donated to the Republican Party before now and I gave them my business. They are my #1 favorite. No more thought. #BoycottInNOut” Twitter user Mother Resister added.
I hate that In-N-Out has probably donated to the Republican Party before now and I gave them my business. They are my #1 favorite. No more, though. #BoycottInNOut
— Mad Mother ?⚖️ (@so_fvcking_mad) August 30, 2018
As Fortune reports, the company also donated $50,000 to the Democratic PAC “Californians for Jobs and a Strong Economy” this year. In 2016 and 2017, In-N-Out donated $30,000 to the Republican Party, and $30,000 in 2016 to the Californians for Jobs and a Strong Economy.
In-N-Out Burger Executive Vice President Arnie Wensinger also gave a statement on the company’s past and present donation habits.
“In 2018, In-N-Out Burger has made equal contributions to both Democratic and Republican Political Action Committees in the State of California,” Wensinger said. “For years, In-N-Out Burger has supported lawmakers who, regardless of political affiliation, promote policies that strengthen California and allow us to continue operating with the values of providing strong pay and great benefits for our Associates.”
While many had strong feelings against the company’s decision on the matter, others made the argument that eating at a restaurant shouldn’t be a political statement.
“Ok we have gone just crazy with boycotts,” Twitter user Harry wrote. “If a business wants to support either party why does it matter? I dont go out to eat and check what political party they are. I go because of the food or atmosphere. #BoycottInNOut is just stupid!! Its a hamburger!!”
Ok we have gone just crazy with boycotts. If a business wants to support either party why does it matter? I dont go out to eat and check what political party they are. I go because of the food or atmosphere. #BoycottInNOut is just stupid!! Its a hamburger!!
— Harry (@ramincol) August 30, 2018
According to Fox News, In-N-Out is currently operating in California, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon, Texas and Utah, and after the threats of Democratic/ non-Republican boycotting, the chain could be making its way to Alabama.
Republican State Sen. Phil Williams from Rainbow City, Alabama, tweeted a clear message to In-N-Out on Aug. 30, inviting the company to his state.
“Hey #InNOutBurger c’mon to Alabama! We love burgers, and we love #Republicans! #alpolitics,” Williams wrote.
— Phil Williams (@SenPhilWilliams) August 31, 2018
So will In-N-Out plan to expand farther east in the near future? According to a Business Insider report, the possibility of expansion is complicated.
Reasons the company may not expand include its exclusivity, increased competition in the east, and the fact that it has no plans to franchise or go public.
When the company was operating in just five states, vice president of planning and development Carl Van Fleet made it clear they were going to focus on growth in those five states instead of expanding east to a sixth location in Colorado. However, In-N-Out soon expanded to their sixth location in Oregon, and has chosen the location of their first Colorado restaurant.
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