The In-N-Out in Keizer Station is the franchise's northernmost location (KEIZERTIMES/Matt Rawlings).
The wait is finally over.
In-N-Out Burger in Keizer Station officially opened its doors on the morning of Thursday, Dec. 12 to a pack of hungry customers, many of whom camped out overnight to be one of the first ones to get their hands on a double-double.
The store was initially supposed to open at 10 a.m., but with so many customers already in line, the restaurant decided to open doors just after 8:30.
“We usually open quite a bit later in the day, but we had a long line of customers here at 7 a.m.,” said Denny Warnick, the Vice President of Operations with In-N-Out. “After a while, it didn't make any sense to make them wait any longer.”
This is the third In-N-Out location in the state, with the other two spots being in Medford and Grants Pass.
Since this is In-N-Out's northernmost location, the franchise recently built a warehouse in Medford to make sure they could deliver fresh products to the Keizer location.
“We have been looking at the opportunity to come a little bit further up north and get a restaurant closer to these folks for a long time,” Warnick said. “There were some infrastructure changes that needed to happen to make sure that we could get the product here freshly.”
One person that decided to campout the evening before opening day was Corban student Jake Hooper.
Hooper is originally from Southern California, where In-N-Out first originated. Once he found out Keizer would be getting an In-N-Out, Hooper knew that he had to be one of the first ones to experience it — even though he had a final exam later in the day.
“I knew that I wanted to campout and be one of the first people in line. It's just been a cool experience,” Hooper said. “I grew up going to In-N-Out. When I go home for breaks, I usually get In-N-Out five or six times over a two-week span. I'll probably be at this one once a week.”
When In-N-Out opens a new location, they prepare in advance for large crowds — waits were reported to be two hours or more and PDX Traffic Alerts reported that minor traffic issues were occurring near the side streets that surround the restaurant.
That is why the franchise sends some of their best employees from across the country to any brand new location — to help things run smoothly and to train some of the new employees.
“With every new restaurant, we bring in a team of what we call 'all-stars', which are made up of our best associates from across the country,” Warnick said.
“All-stars” are put up in motels for weeks and even months to help transition new employees into their roles. In-N-Out has hired many Keizer workers and are still looking to add to their staff — which is expected to employ more than 100 people.
According to Warnick, more than 40 workers were on shift at 9 a.m.
“We want to be ready for anything. We don't ever want to presume that we're going to be busy, but we want to be ready if we are. We want to make this as great as an experience as possible for our customers,” Warnick said.
John Ford, who has worked for In-N-Out for more than two decades, will manage the store.
Ford who now resides in Silverton, worked in Southern California for most of his career, but he moved up to Oregon a little over two years ago to open the store in Grants Pass.
“It's an amazing experience to see customers that are so loyal to us. I really enjoy the people of this area. Being a part of the local scene is something special,” Ford said.
Even though the grand opening was on Dec. 12, In-N-Out hosted a store party the evening before for new associates and their families, along with a select number of city officials.
One official that made the cut was Bill Post, the state representative for District 25 in Keizer and an avid In-N-Out lover.
Post is incredibly excited for In-N-Out on a personal level, but is even more thrilled about what the restaurant could bring to Keizer.
“I think it's going to be huge. It makes Keizer more attractive and puts the town on the map,” Post said. “With the amount of people that will come and check out the town, it won't be anything but a win-win for Keizer.”
As far as the burger is concerned, Post didn't mince his words.
“It absolutely lived up to the hype. It always does,” Post says.