Are You Really Surprised that In-N-Out Donated to the GOP?

Shake Shack would never.
Photo by Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images

In-N-Out is a beloved West Coast burger chain famous for its secret menu, its "Animal-Style" option, and for making a regular appearance on your Instagram anytime someone you know goes to LA.

In-N-Out is also a big company belonging to a 36-year-old born-again Christian billionaire heiress, who inherited the privately owned business from her grandparents. In-N-Out's burgers might be the kind of quality fast food designed to appeal to a youthful proletariat, but its business has other priorities—as evidenced by the public filing for a $25,000 donation to the California Republican Party, which was brought to people's attention on Twitter this week by journalist Gabe Schneider.


This is viscerally disappointing, but it's not all that surprising (didn't we just go through this with Nathan's Famous Hot Dogs?) Even less surprising—if you think about this new information in conjunction with the genuinely surprising information that In-N-Out has been around since 1948—is that isn't the first time In-N-Out has donated to the GOP. According to Los Angeles Magazine, the burger chain has donated $30,000 annually to the California Republican Party for the past two years.

Now, because the playbook has become rote even as the details remain specific and important, the head of the California Democratic Party is calling for a boycott of In-N-Out.

Brand boycotts by disenchanted consumers who want their capitalism without a side of any executive's ideology just might be the only bipartisan belief left in this country. If you really want to have an impact on the California midterm elections, don't take it out on your own burger supply—just go vote.

But if nothing else, this adds another element to a the In-N-Out vs. Shake Shack rivalry, since Danny Meyer's Union Square Hospitality Group has donated tens of thousands of dollars to Democratic candidates in recent years. Plus, their fries are so much better.