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Secretive In-N-Out Billionaire Owner Lynsi Snyder Committed to Christian Faith; Values Extend to Entire Burger Chain

( [email protected] ) Jun 08, 2015 11:17 AM EDT
California-based burger chain In-N-Out is best known for its tasty burgers, fries and shakes, all of which have gathered a cult following among fans. The billionaire owner of the burger dynasty, 33-year-old Lynsi Snyder, also happens to be a practicing, Bible-believing Christian.

California-based burger chain In-N-Out is best known for its tasty burgers, fries and shakes, all of which have gathered a cult following among fans. The billionaire owner of the burger dynasty, 33-year-old Lynsi Snyder, also happens to be a practicing, Bible-believing Christian.

According to Ryan Bradley of Grub Street, Snyder maintains a low profile and rarely does interviews, citing her family's safety and privacy; she has previously been targeted for kidnapping. He tried to get in touch with Snyder through Phyllis Cudworth, the marketing coordinator at In-N-Out.

"[In-N-Out is a] low-key company," Cudworth said. "We just don't talk about ourselves, or how great we are."

Bradley noted that the sense of privacy surrounding the owner extended across the In-N-Out chain. He asked a woman who worked at the Baldwin Park location on what Snyder was like.

"The Snyders are people of humility and faith, she tells me, then requests that I don't ask any more questions because she could get in trouble," Bradley wrote.

Bradley observed that In-N-Out's packaging contained Bible verses. His milkshake cup made a reference to Proverbs 3:5, which says "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding."

According to Bradley, Snyder lives near Baldwin Park in a mansion "once owned by former Dodger third baseman Adrian Beltré." One person in the area indicated to Bradley that Snyder's family has lived in the area "forever."

Snyder did grant a rare interview to Patrick J. Kiger of Orange Coast Magazine back in January 2014. She recalled two occasions when she was nearly kidnapped, first at 17 in Northern California and then at 24 years of age in Baldwin Park.

"I ran across the highway," Snyder said of the second kidnapping attempt made against her. "They had a van with boarded up windows."

Snyder added that those experiences contributed to the reasons why she valued her privacy; Kiger did not disclose how many children she had from three previous marriages. However, she remained cheerful despite the challenges.

"It all helped mold me into what I am now," Snyder said.

According to Kiger, Snyder once trained for an amateur boxing, which was later cut short after suffering a bruised kidney.

"I decided that I'd better take it easy and have children before I came back to that," Snyder said with a laugh.

Kiger reported that she also had a passion for drag-racing thanks to the introduction by her late father, Guy Snyder. The billionaire indicated that racing down the track at speeds up to 200 mph was her idea of a great time.

"I'm a lot like my dad, a little bit of a daredevil," Snyder said. "I like an adrenaline rush. My dad took me to the racetrack for the first time when I was 2 or 3. ... Anything with a motor, that was in my blood."

According to Kiger, Snyder is devoted to her Christian faith. This was reflected in a small tattoo on her arm written in Aramaic.

"It's Jesus' language," Snyder quipped. "It's part of a Bible verse. Matthew 6:10. It says, 'Your kingdom come, your will be done.'"

Snyder then elaborated to Kiger on the other tattoo, which was written in Hebrew.

"It says, 'Hated.' It references John 15:18, where Jesus says-this is paraphrased-'Do not be surprised when the world hates you, for it hated me,'" Snyder said. "So yes, those are for me. Those are reminders."

Snyder told Kiger that her father, for better and worse, left a powerful influence on her. Guy died from an accidental overdose of painkillers at 48 years old.

"Because of my dad's struggle with drug addiction, I have a great love for addicts," Snyder said. "I see that you can have a really smart, great person, who is dealing with an addiction that makes him an entirely different person. ... I think people are quick to judge."

According to Kiger, the death of Snyder's father deepened her Christian faith.

"It gives me life, and makes me feel strong, and encourages me to stand for others ... knowing what different people in the Bible went though," Snyder wrote. "I'm not getting dragged through the street, or hanged or flogged, [so] I guess I can make it through. It could be worse."

Snyder emphasized that when it comes to business, she took a "conservative" and "old-fashioned" approach.

"I'm not as much into taking risk," Snyder explained. "On those personality tests, I come out as a choleric-sanguine, a combination of opposites: an organized, careful leader, but also fun-loving and free-spirited."

Secretive In-N-Out Billionaire Lynsi Snyder Committed to Christian Faith; Values Extend to Entire Burger Chain
In-N-Out heir Lynsi Martinez, left, grandmother Esther Snyder and executive Mark Taylor expressed their commitment to workers and the chain. Photo: Orange County Register

According to Kiger, Snyder's approach has worked well for In-N-Out Burger, which has made very few changes to its menu and business methods since 1948. Its strategy has worked out well for the California-based chain, which competes with fast food giants such as McDonald's and new burger upstarts such as Virginia-based Five Guys.

"The Snyders' emphasis on quality and value was combined with slow, cautious expansion in which the parent company kept control of all the restaurants bearing its name, rather than selling franchises," Kiger wrote. "Industry analysts ascribe In‑N‑Out's continuing success to its insistence on sticking to its original formula-and to the loyalty it has built among generations of customers as a result."

Snyder told Kiger that the company's approach isn't changing anytime soon.

"How we make our decisions is not looking to the right and left to see what everyone else is doing," Snyder said. "It's just looking forward and doing the same thing that we've done in the past, because it has worked. We don't have plans to change the menu. We don't have plans to crank up the growth."

Snyder added that she does not "regret thinking of things I wish I would have done."

"I guess there's that weight of feeling responsible, for taking care of what the family started," Snyder said. "There are so many people that invested their lives into it, that cared for my grandparents and my dad and my uncle, and the feeling is mutual."


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