This may be getting the burger off the grill before the bun is baked, but In-N-Out Burger could be thinking about coming to Kansas City. This will require a little bit of math and some faith, so you'll just have to work with me, people.
D Magazine has an extensive profile of In-N-Out's decision to expand into the Dallas area, and tucked within Nancy Luna's well-researched pieces are a few tidbits that suggest it's reasonable to think Kansas City could be a future destination for the successful California burger franchise.
Tidbit A: In-N-Out's policy on fresh ingredients.
In 2006, I became the first reporter ever to tour In-N-Out's California meat-processing plant and distribution center. And, just a few months ago, I was invited to see one of the Los Angeles-area bakeries that supplies the chain's old-fashioned sponge-dough buns. The plant is the key to In-N-Out's quality control. Executive Mark Taylor told me that the chain limits new stores (until now) to within 500 miles of the facility to maintain freshness.The current temporary facility for In-N-Out in Texas is in West Dallas. Let's assume that they find a permanent distribution center there (although In-N-Out has not announced its intentions either way). According to Google Maps, the drive from Dallas to Kansas City will take just over eight hours to cover the 505 miles. And depending on the actual zip codes, we can probably get that number down to under 500 miles. Regardless, what's five miles among friends?
Could a new Dallas facility eventually support the same number of In-N-Out restaurants in, say, Tulsa, Santa Fe and Kansas City? For now, the company is mum.While it makes sense for Van Fleet to be focusing on Dallas, he didn't dismiss the possibility of In-N-Out expanding into Kansas City. And if we read behind the lines of Luna's questioning -- a good reporter often asks the question to which they already know the answer, and she has a strong relationship with the company (she writes in the excerpt above that she was the first journalist to tour their distribution facility in California) -- then perhaps KC is part of a potential future expansion plan.
"We are very enthusiastic about our expansion into Texas," says Carl Van Fleet, In-N-Out's vice president of planning and development. "At this time, we are focusing specifically on the Dallas-Fort Worth market, as there are many exciting opportunities there."