I am an In-n-Out superfan. As my friends will all attest, I have devoted an inordinate amount of time dreaming up secret menu items. Here are some of them…
Chef Salad: Two Protein Style burgers, chopped, and topped with two packets of spread. Eat with a fork.
Big Mac Style: Three buns, two beef patties, cheese, shredded lettuce, minced onions, spread, pickles.
Loaded Baked Potato: Potato (they have whole fresh potatoes on site to make the fries) cooked in microwave, cut open and given Animal Style treatment: grilled onions, melted cheese, spread.
The last time I learned about a new (really not-so-secret) secret menu item at In-n-Out, it was 12 years ago, when I heard the guy in front of me ordering his fries Animal Style. (Insert image of MIND BEING BLOWN.) So when I heard about “Monkey Style,” the “newest secret menu item,” where Animal Style fries are placed ONTO a burger, I enthusiastically spread the word via social media. To see the birth of a new secret menu item, before our very eyes, would be a glorious thing.
But here’s why it’s not real…
- The post claims that the author “overheard a Twitter conversation” about Monkey Style then links to a protected Twitter account. Okaaaaaaay.
- They never actually order a Monkey Style burger in the video. Watch it again. They talk to an employee saying they don’t make it, then put burgers in the car that are clearly NOT Monkey Style, then cut to them eating the “Monkey Style” burgers.
- As pointed out on Dom’s Favorite Burgers, the wrapper looks like it was tampered with. It looks like the makers of the video simply placed Animal Style fries on a burger.
- Many superfans like myself are commenting that it’s not real.
- Our local CBS affiliate finally had the sense to fact-check the video: “For a variety of reasons, we’re unable to prepare burgers in the manner that a few websites have described as ‘Monkey Style,’” said Carl Van Fleet, the VP of planning and development for In-N-Out Burger.
- Several In-n-Out employees commented on these stories saying it’s not true. Here’s one of the most articulate answers about why they won’t do it:
As an employee of INO burger I can tell you like everyone else on here this is untrue. We do not put fries on our burgers. The customer can of course just shove fries in their burger after they get it.(As was done in this youtube video) Heck bring your own bacon, mushrooms, or Krispy creme donut but we will not put it on for you. It’s really as simple as that. INO Burger is not some big conspiracy trying to keep the customer in the dark about our most delicious food mods. We will gladly tell you everything on our secret menu if you ask and if you have an idea we will let you know if we can do it to your burger, fry, shake and/or soda. If we are not allowed to do it for the customer most things the costumer can easily do it themselves. That being said, happy burger munching and to The Huffington Post: You have been trolled!
THAT BEING SAID…
I have thought long and hard about how to “create” a secret menu item. Do I walk in and tell them what I want, then write a story about it? Instagram it with a snappy name? No, in the era of YouTube, creating a seemingly real video is absolutely the way to do it. Yes, they were supersloppy in this case. But this false idea of “Monkey Style” has gone viral, and there are people walking into In-n-Outs everywhere trying to order it. The perpetuation of the secret menu is one of In-n-Out’s greatest marketing strategies. As the employee states above they will be happy to work with you on your idea, as long as it is “allowed” (which I’m sure they have good reasons for like health codes, etc.) and that gets people excited about going to In-n-Out and trying new things that they hear about, maybe in line, maybe on the internet, maybe from the voices in their head, like me.
They say it’s their “policy” not to put fries on burgers, but with so many people clamoring to do it, why wouldn’t they possibly reconsider their policy? It might possibly happen if enough people demand Monkey Style. One can only imagine that they were once not as amenable to taking their perfectly cooked french fries and melting cheese on top of them, right? Someone had to suggest the idea, which had to be approved. Sounds like it would make sense for me to interview an employee about the rules and then see how our new concoctions could help them innovate.
Of course, there’s nothing stopping you from making it yourself, as the employee almost seems to encourage. Although that kind of takes the fun out of it, doesn’t it?