From San Francisco, Calif — 09/02/2008
I worked at the Fisherman's Wharf In-N-Out for a summer, I got hired the summer before my senior year in high school. They really made an effort to hire immigrants and high school kids, so you can either look at that as hiring people who aren't going to be complaining, or giving people chances who would otherwise have a tough time getting relatively well-paying jobs. I will say that literally everyone else who was hired with me had friends refer them, so you might not like the hiring process, but I didn't have a referral and didn't have a problem getting a job.
Respect: Kind of questionable. Managers respect you, coworkers' attitudes towards each other are all over the place- they might love you, might hate you. Probably just depends on the location and who you get stuck with.
Benefits: Only worked a summer, never needed/used them so I don't know.
Job security: We had some pretty lazy people who didn't get fired, so I'd say it was pretty good.
Work/Life balance: They ask you to stay late sometimes with basically like 30 minute warning at the end of your shift if it's really busy. I don't know if that's standard for fast-food places... probably not, since I wouldn't think that most fast-food places would get that busy. They also have monthly meetings that last only an hour but you have to go out there anyway, and the commute's really not worth it but you have no choice. On the other hand, if you're sick then you're sick and my manager/assistant manager would be pretty understanding.
Career potential/growth: Seemed pretty good. People could move up, but I don't know if that stopped right before assistant manager (when you start making real money)
Location: There are a lot of them, so, pretty good.
Co-worker competence: Might be my branch, but everyone except the high school kids worked really hard and knew what they were doing. If you factor out the high school kids, looking back I'm actually extremely impressed.
Work Environment: Coworkers were nice, treated me (at the time, 17) with respect, manager/assistant manager extremely understanding (I was late a couple of times too, but they never really got on me for it since I was by and large a pretty hard worker), would work with you on scheduling if you put in a request in time (1 1/2-2 weeks in advance). If you're really stuck on something, manager would help you out. Except for one isolated incident, customers were actually really cool (tourist location, so they were all on vacation and that probably had a lot to do with it).
So, I can see why In-N-Out has a pretty good reputation. It's well-deserved as long as you remember that you're flipping burgers here. Anyone can do what you're doing, so don't expect $15/hour. You have to do what management says- it's not a democracy, it's a place that makes burgers.