Petition demands In-N-Out add veggie burger option to menu

Photo courtesy of In-N-Out Grub/flikrcc

Photo courtesy of In-N-Out Grub/flikrcc

Known for its delicious burgers, animal style fries, and thick milkshakes, In-N-Out Burger is under fire for not offering one item, namely a veggie burger. The fast food restaurant that has historically kept a simple and limited menu might just have one too few items.

Three weeks ago, The Good Food Institute started a petition on the website The petition demands In-N-Out add a veggie burger to its menu. In-N-Out already offers meat-free options, but the organization is looking for more. Currently, the extent of In-N-Out’s meatless food items include grilled cheese and french fries.

The petition has gained over 39,000 signatures, with a goal of reaching at least 50,000. The petition pointed out that In-N-Out competitors, Burger King, White Castle, and Chipotle all have veggie options. The petition stated that if the company claims to take pride in customer satisfaction and ethical business practice, then it would include a veggie option.

“As a company that prides itself on both customer satisfaction and ethical business practices, adding a meat-free option is a no-brainer,” the petition said. “And by making this single addition, In-N-Out would be making a huge statement that it truly cares about its customers’ health and the health of the planet.”

In-N-Out, which has over 300 location in six different states all west of the Mississippi, earns about $600 million in revenue each year. The petition stated that millennials, who account for a large percentage of the signatures, hold over $200 billion in annual buying power.

Critics of the petition pointed out two major flaws with the petition. First off, the $200 billion in buying power from millennials includes the whole market, although In-N-Out only operates in six states. Critics also addressed that, although the petition highlighted some major competitors and their veggie substitutes, it failed to address other competitors who do not offer veggie burgers, such as industry leader McDonald’s.

Some customer of In-N-Out don’t understand why the petition has even started. Junior Will Knopka said that the idea should not be taken seriously and that In-N-Out shouldn’t be required to serving anything they don’t want to.

“I think it’s kind of silly,” Knopka said. “I don’t think they are required to have a vegan option. If you want vegan food, just go somewhere else.”

Knopka also said that he believed that this idea might sound good to people.  Economically, it may not make sense for In-N-Out to sell a veggie burger, and, at the end of the day, In-N-Out is a business.

“If it’s not a smart business decision, then they should not even try it,” Knopka said. “They are a business and they need to do things that help the business.”

The petition has gained support from both the vegan and vegetarian communities, as well as carnivores. Senior Leah Wargo, founder of the Student Vegans United orginization, said that she believes that In-N-Out should offer the veggie burger.

“They currently have little to offer people with alternate lifestyles,” Wargo said. “And being such a large chain, it will expose the masses to a plant based life, or at least a healthier one.”

When asked if she would eat there if the veggie burger was offered, Wargo said only if they could keep the meal from being cross-contaminated with the regular meat.

“I would [eat at In-N-Out] if they could ensure that the patty was cooked on a separate flat top from the meats,” Wargo said.

Although it would seem most vegans are in support of the petition, there has also been opposition  from within the community.

A comment on the petition, that has since been removed, stated the double standard of eating a veggie burger at In-N-Out.

“As a vegetarian myself, this is a stupid petition,” the comment said. “Why, as a vegan, would you want to support a company that slaughters cows by the thousands? I wouldn’t ask Lucille’s BBQ to make me vegan ribs. I just won’t eat there.”

In-N-Out has not commented on the petition yet. It is still unclear if a veggie option would make economical sense for the burger giant to sell. According to the Vegetarian Times approximately three percent of Americans identify as vegan or vegetarian. More studies will have to be done to see how many of those individuals would help increase In-N-Out’s revenue if a veggie burger option was added to the classic menu.

For now, In-N-Out will continue to sell its traditional burgers and fries. The Good Food Institute waits to see if it will ever receive a response.

Written by Kevin Nelson, News Editor