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Leadership

In-N-Out President Lynsi Snyder ranked as Glassdoor's top restaurant chief

The reclusive heir to the chain's co-founders enjoys a higher rating from employees than any other restaurant executive can claim.
In n out burger
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In-N-Out President and principal owner Lynsi Snyder is known as an eccentric and a recluse--she prefers the term "private"--but no other leader of a restaurant chain is appreciated more by rank-and-file employees than she is, according to a ranking of corporate chiefs by the recruitment firm Glassdoor.

Snyder finished 20th on the placement service’s 2021 list, or higher than any other restaurant president or CEO. Only two other chiefs from the industry were included: Hyatt CEO Mark S. Hoplamazian, at Number 41, and Raising Cane’s co-CEO Todd Graves, at Number 74.

No restaurant executives were included in Glassdoor’s separate ranking of the nation’s best small-company CEOs.

Both lists are based on the approval ratings given corporate leaders by their respective workforces. Snyder enjoyed a rating of 96% from In-N-Out’s employees. Hoplamazian earned a score of 94%, and Graves drew a rating of 92%.

The 100th-place finisher,  Martine Ferland Marsh McLennan Cos.’ Mercer consultancy, was given an approval grade of 90%.

Snyder, age 39, is the highest-placing woman on the list. She has made Glassdoor’s ranking four previous times, usually as the top finisher among restaurant chiefs.

“She’s consistently earned her place among the Top CEOs list due to her vast managerial experience and sharp strategy,” the placement service said in its analysis of Snyder’s score.

In-N-Out is believed to have one of the highest pay scales in the industry, with general managers earning more than $160,000 annually.  All 364 of the chain’s restaurants are owned and operated by In-N-Out, and Snyder owns virtually all of the business, which was founded by her grandfather.

She fought her way to In-N-Out’s top job at age 28, on the cusp of inheriting the 50% stake in the company that had been held by her father, who died of an accidental overdose of pain relievers in 1999 (Snyder takes issue with that widely reported characterization, saying through an assistant that the official cause of death was congestive heart failure.)  She inherited much of the remaining 50% from her grandmother, chain co-founder Esther Snyder.

Snyder objects to that interpretation of events, telling Restaurant Business that she was always the heir apparent.

She also disputes widespread media coverage at the time that characterized her dealings with Rich Boyd, the executor of Esther Snyder's will, as a power struggle for day-to-day management of In-N-Out. "He was never in line to be president of the company nor leading day-to-day operations," says the email from her assistant.

Boyd asserted at the time that Lynsi Snyder was trying to nudge her grandmother out of the situation and make herself the chief, even though she had no experience in running a company.

The man she succeeded as president, Mark Taylor, is her brother-in-law. He ceded the president’s post to Lynsi and stepped down into the role of COO.

In the 11 years since taking the helm, Snyder has granted few interviews and has virtually never appeared at an industry event. Her assistant says Snyder "regularly attends In-N-Out functions, including store openings, company picnics and leadership training events."

She is devoutly religious, a fan of drag racing, and currently in her fourth marriage. She has four children.

Snyder works out of In-N-Out’s former headquarters rather than its newer office because the former facility is closer to her home. Snyder said through her assistant that she left the house, a 16-bathroom mansion, years ago. Yet the property wasn't put on the market until late March of this year, according to a local news source.  The reported asking price: $16.8 million.

Snyder has indicated in several of her rare interviews that she shuns publicity and forgoes most gatherings because she has already survived two kidnapping attempts and is concerned about her personal safety.  But her assistance dismissed that as an inaccurate characterization, saying Snyder declines interviews because she's constantly involved in In-N-Out related activities.

Correction and updates: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the name of Snyder's brother-in-law and successor as In-N-Out president. He is Mark Taylor, not Mark Snyder.  In addition, the story has been updated with input from Snyder.

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