In-N-Out's Billionaire Prez: I Was 'Over' by Age 22

Lynsi Snyder overcame struggles to get where she is
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 13, 2018 11:45 AM CDT

For many West Coasters, In-N-Out is the burger chain—hard to find in big cities but revered for its low prices and fresh ingredients. Now meet Lynsi Snyder, a 36-year-old who has battled drug and alcohol use, sports Bible-verse tattoos, and is married to a race-car driver. The kicker: She is In-N-Out's president, just listed by Forbes as the youngest woman among America's richest 400 billionaires (her net worth: $3 billion). Sporting black combat boots and piles of silver bracelets on each arm, she's also a traditionalist: "It's not [about] adding new products. Or thinking of the next bacon-wrapped this or that. We're making the same burger, the same fry," she says. "We’re really picky and strategic. We're not going to compromise." All this fits In-N-Out's history, a curious mix of tradition and dangerous living.

Opened in 1948 in Baldwin Park, Calif., by Snyder's grandparents, the chain was led by her uncle for 17 years until he died in a 1993 plane crash. Snyder's father Guy then became chair despite his drag racing and opioid habits; he survived three overdoses but died of heart failure at age 48. Snyder, meanwhile, went through two early marriages and substance abuse: "It was like a black-sheep era of my life," she says. "By the time I hit 22, it was pretty much over"—but all that "forced me to be stronger." Taking the reins in 2010, she saw the company's value grow to nearly $1 billion as it expanded into Texas and Oregon. But Snyder still sticks to the basics: No frozen meat, no microwaves, no heat lamps, no franchising, and no IPO. "It's not about the money for us," she says, per People. "Unless God sends a lightning bolt down and changes my heart miraculously, I would not ever sell." (More hamburgers stories.)

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