top of page
  • Writer's pictureStaff @ LT&C

In-N-Out Burger Faces Backlash Over Mask Policy, Prioritizing Smiles Over Safety

In-N-Out Burger, a popular quick-serve chain with a fervent following, finds itself at the center of a heated debate as it implements new mask policies for its employees in several Western U.S. states. The guidelines, set to take effect on August 14th, have raised concerns about prioritizing customer service over employee safety during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. With differing rules across states and the potential for termination for non-compliance, In-N-Out Burger faces growing criticism and scrutiny.

Mask Policy in Western U.S. States The recent announcement from In-N-Out Burger has caused a stir as it restricts employees in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, Texas, and Utah from wearing masks unless they provide a medical note from a doctor. This move has garnered attention and raised questions about the company's commitment to employee welfare, especially as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to impact communities across the nation.

Guidelines in Oregon and California In Oregon and California, the states with the most In-N-Out locations, the chain will only allow employees to wear company-approved N95 masks if they choose to do so. While this appears to be a step towards acknowledging safety concerns, critics argue that this concession still falls short of adequately protecting employees and customers.

Balancing Customer Service and Safety According to employee memos posted online, In-N-Out Burger justifies these new guidelines as a means to emphasize the importance of customer service and the ability to show employees' smiles and other facial features. However, the move has sparked controversy, with many questioning whether prioritizing customer service in this manner should come at the expense of employee health and safety during a pandemic.

Potential Consequences for Non-Compliance The memo further states that failure to comply with the new mask policy could lead to termination. This approach has added to the debate, with critics arguing that such measures may discourage employees from voicing their concerns or taking necessary precautions to protect their health.

In-N-Out's Past Controversies In-N-Out Burger's handling of Covid-19 regulations has not been without past controversies. In 2021, the chain faced backlash when its San Francisco outlet was ordered to close for failing to comply with vaccine card checks for indoor diners. Subsequently, all five locations in nearby Contra Costa County were preemptively closed, further igniting discussions about the company's stance on health and safety measures.

In-N-Out's Image and Political Involvement In-N-Out Burger has long held a unique identity in the fast-food industry, known for printing Bible verses on its food packaging and engaging in political contributions. In 2018, the company made headlines when it donated to the California Republican Party. However, the chief legal and business officer for In-N-Out, Arnie Wensinger, clarified that the chain had historically given to both major political parties.

Conclusion In-N-Out Burger's recent mask policy has become a contentious issue, drawing attention to the company's approach to balancing customer service and employee safety. As criticism mounts, the chain will face increasing pressure to reconsider its stance and prioritize the well-being of its employees and customers. In a time when public health and safety remain paramount, companies like In-N-Out will continue to be scrutinized for their handling of Covid-19 regulations, and the outcomes may shape their public perception for years to come.


Top Stories

bottom of page