Operations

In-N-Out Burger says ongoing crime is forcing closure of unit in Oakland, Calif.

After 18 years in the Bay Area city, the quick-service chain that rarely closes stores said the unit there is scheduled to shutter in March out of concern for the safety of workers and guests.
In-N-Out Burger
The chain operates multiple other locations in the Bay Area, but the unit in Oakland is in a high-crime area. | Photo: Shutterstock.

In an unusual move, In-N-Out Burger is closing a location in Oakland, Calif., due to “ongoing issues with crime.”

Denny Warnick, the Irvine, Calif.-based chain’s chief operating officer, said in a statement that the 18-year-old restaurant was busy and profitable, “but our top priority must be the safety and well-being of our customers and associates—we cannot ask them to visit or work in an unsafe environment.”

Despite taking repeated steps to create safer conditions, Warnick said, “Our customers and associates are regularly victimized by car break-ins, property damage, theft and armed robberies.”

The unit’s last day of business is scheduled to be March 24, and about 115 workers will be impacted by the closure. Warnick said workers will have an opportunity to transfer to a nearby In-N-Out location or receive a severance package, though details were not offered.

The Oakland unit was near the airport and several gas stations, where car burglaries and auto theft have been rampant, according to SF Gate. A Starbucks in the same lot reportedly closed last year, and a nearby Raising Cane’s offers drive-thru only service.

An In-N-Out spokesperson said restaurant closures are a “unique” situation for the chain, which operates nearly 400 units in California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Texas, Oregon, Colorado and Idaho.

Crime targeting restaurants and their patrons has been an ongoing problem in the Bay Area, but also in other regions. Earlier this month, restaurant operators testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Small Business Committee with stories of repeated break-ins, armed robberies, car theft and even stolen ATM machines.

Though In-N-Out will no longer be operating in Oakland, the company plans to continue supporting local charities through the In-N-Out Foundation and the Slave 2 Nothing Foundation.

 

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