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In-N-Out serves burgers with a side of scripture

Published: Saturday, Dec. 26 2009 12:15 a.m. MST

Would you like a scripture with those fries?

Or how about some Bible verses with that burger?

At all In-N-Out Burger outlets, patrons will receive a biblical chapter-and-verse reference on some of your packaging, whether they want it or not.

According to Stacy Perman, who authored a history book on the popular burger company earlier this year titled, "In-N-Out Burger: A Behind-the-Counter Look at the Fast-Food Chain That Breaks All the Rules," it is now a tradition for the company to offer the gospel according to In-N-Out.

"It's fairly discreet," she said during a presentation on the company's history last July, now available on YouTube.com. "A lot of people don't even know it's there — some people are offended. Some don't care," Perman said.

She said Rich Snyder, former In-N-Out Burger president, started putting scriptural references on packaging and drink cups back in the 1980s. It's in very small print, and you have to look closely to ever notice it. Only the book and verse is listed, not the actual scripture. Snyder died in a plane crash in 1993, but the Snyder family — who still owns the private company — kept that tradition going.

Perman said Snyder was a born-again Christian.

"That was his way of trumpeting his faith," she stated.

She stressed that one thing he didn't want was to have to face Jesus in the afterlife and need to explain why he didn't promote the gospel.

Since the company as founded earlier — in 1948 by Harry and Esther Snyder in Baldwin Park, Calif. — the Bible verses are a recent part of the chain's history. The company's official website makes no mention of the tradition of verses.

On a personal note, my packaging from the Draper In-N-Out Burger on Dec. 19 had Revelation 3:20 ("Behold, I stand at the door and knock") listed in small print on my fries wrapper and Nahum 1:7 ("The Lord is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble") on the back of the burger packaging. I could not clearly read the reference on the bottom lip of my shake cup, but it was probably Proverbs 3:5 ("Trust in the Lord with all thine heart").

Soft drink cups apparently have John 3:16 ("For God so loved the world") printed on them.

My own unscientific survey of 14 of my colleagues revealed that only two of them were aware of In-N-Out's biblical promotion. So, it is very likely only a small part of In-N-Out's customers have ever noticed the tiny biblical references.

In-N-Out Burger now has five Utah locations — Washington (southern Utah); Draper, West Jordan, American Fork and Orem. West Valley, Centerville and possibly Layton could also soon have outlets.

This regional chain of fast food restaurants now has more than 240 total outlets. However, sadly, one young granddaughter is the only surviving heir to this family enterprise.

See the YouTube video interview on the origin of Bible verses.

E-mail: lynn@desnews.com

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