Momentum builds for In-N-Out Burger to come to Florida

The sign to an In-N-Out restaurant is shown in San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf, Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu) (Jeff Chiu, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

TALLAHASSEE – Momentum is growing behind the possibility of the West Coast chain In-N-Out Burger expanding to the Sunshine State.

It all began with a long shot offer from Jimmy Patronis, Florida’s chief financial officer, after hearing the company was fighting with local governments in California over COVID-19 policies, and now the highest levels of Florida’s government are involved.

Momentum is growing behind the possibility of the West Coast chain In-N-Out Burger expanding to the Sunshine State.

Patronis has been getting a lot of attention on the Twitterverse since he suggested In-N-Out move to Florida.

“I never realized there were so many East Coast individuals that have enjoyed a West Coast burger,” said Patronis.

The buzz on social media caught the eye of Gov. Ron DeSantis, who held a call with the burger chain’s CEO on Monday.

“Having the governor onboard is definitely a game changer,” said Patronis.

Christina Pushaw, DeSantis’ press secretary, was optimistic about the conversation, saying that one of the biggest obstacles to overcome is that the burger chain’s suppliers for its ingredients are located on the West Coast.

“Of course, Florida also has some of the best farms and cattle ranches in the country, and the governor discussed this with the president of In-N-Out. If they can identify suppliers for all their ingredients here, which we believe is possible, In-N-Out could expand to Florida,” Pushaw said in an emailed statement.

As an added bonus, Geoff Luebkemann, with the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association, said the state’s uniform COVID policies have the potential to be a big selling point, especially after In-N-Out found itself butting heads with local governments in California over vaccine passports.

“Business loves consistency. The opportunity to understand what the rules are regardless of what county or municipality you might operate in is a huge advantage here in Florida,” said Luebkemann.

Patronis said Enterprise Florida, the state’s economic development arm, is excited to work to find suppliers for In-N-Out to make a move to the East Coast possible.

“I hope that between our efforts and the reach that the governor has had with this, we may be able to see an In-N-Out somewhere near you in the near future,” said Patronis.

Whether a deal can be worked out or not is still up in the air, but the chain has been moving further east in recent decades, making it as far as Texas.

A comment from In-N-Out Burger reads: