Thursday, 10 December 2009
The In'N'Out campaign
It's no mystery I suppose that neither Byron, nor Haché, nor Hawksmoor really "get" the genuine American burger. I don't doubt the effort they put into their respective creations - in fact from long chats with both the guys at Byron and Hawksmoor it seems effort and attention to detail is not the issue here. The problem is the whole approach to the concept - this desire to create a "perfect" burger, using the finest ingredients money can buy, and serving it in a swanky designer room with silver cutlery and frosted glasses. If there's one thing I learned about burgers from my various trips to the US it's that, ironically, the best burgers are not perfect. Burgers are a cheap snack, calorific, day-glo, greasy, sweet and salty. They are unashamedly, unmistakeably junk food, and they are all the more delicious for it. Use more expensive cuts of meat, artisan cheese, ciabatta bread and organic tomatoes and what you end up with may very well be more acceptable to the ladies who lunch of Bond Street but you're getting further and further away from what made this classic creation so wonderful in the first place.
I haven't - completely - given up on someone, eventually, getting it right at this side of the pond but given that a few of us burger obsessives spent a whole evening attempting to convince just Byron to use seeded brioche buns, even going so far as to bring some we'd snagged from Burger King just up the road, and they still insist on using floury baps, I can't see change happening any time soon. So what they need - what we all need - is an incentive. And what could be a greater incentive for the burgermeisters of London to up their game than for America's greatest burger chain to open a branch in this city? Show them how it's done, In'N'Out.
I won't go on again about how good In'N'Out are - read my San Diego roundup if you need a reminder - but briefly, the fact they can serve such thoroughly accomplished burgers for $1.99 is little short of a miracle. Now obviously, if In'N'Out were to open a branch in London, that price point may be an issue, but at £1.99 or even £2.99 you'll still be putting the fear of God not only into the gourmet gang but clearly also into Burger King and McDonalds too.
So the campaign starts here. First thing you can do is click here to send a message to the lovely guys at In'N'Out, who will (based on experience) email you almost immediately back with something along the lines of:
Although we are unable to confirm a site in London at this time, In-N-Out Burger® plans on expanding as far as we can, and particularly into areas in which our customers have expressed interest. As such, we are happy to let our Real Estate Department know that you would like us to open an In-N-Out Burger® location in your area.
But with enough people petitioning we can at the very least alert the powers that be to a genuine grass-roots desire to see In'N'Out ply their trade in the UK, and who knows, in a few years time you may be picking up your Double Double from In'N'Out Soho or In'N'Out Waterloo. And wouldn't that be bloody brilliant.