Going, going, gone! In-N-Out sells out in a flash

Eric Billings poses with an In-N-Out burger at Strangers at 47 in Petaling Jaya January 23, 2018. — Pictures by Yusof Mat Isa
Eric Billings poses with an In-N-Out burger at Strangers at 47 in Petaling Jaya January 23, 2018. — Pictures by Yusof Mat Isa

PETALING JAYA, Jan 23 — Popular US fast food chain In-N-Out’s second pop-up store in Malaysia was swarmed by burger lovers who snapped up its burgers before the event even had a chance to start.

Around 300 people were able to grab a taste of the burgers, but many more left with only the taste of disappointment as the burgers were sold out ahead of the official start at 11am.

The chain’s special foreign events manager Eric Billings told Malay Mail that wristbands were given out at 10.30am and by 10.50am, they were all gone.

“We sold out in less than 30 minutes time, even before the event started!” a visibly excited Billings said of the one-day pop-up Kuala Lumpur Tour hosted by Strangers at 47.

People queuing up at the In-N-Out burger pop-up store at Strangers at 47 in Petaling Jaya January 23, 2018.
People queuing up at the In-N-Out burger pop-up store at Strangers at 47 in Petaling Jaya January 23, 2018.

“We prepared 300 burgers and 300 wristbands for our customers. And this is more than normal for our foreign tours. Other locations we only prepare between 200 to 250 burgers. The Malaysian response to this has been exceptional!” he continued.

Each wristband entitles the holder to a single burger.

As the saying goes, the early bird catches the worm. In the case of 24-year-old Sofia Rashidi, she made sure to be the earliest bird and queued up since 7.45am to ensure she wouldn’t miss out.

“The last time I had In-N-Out was when I was still studying in San Diego State University, three years ago. I wanted to make sure I won’t miss it and I took half day’s leave and I also have a meeting at 12 today,” said Sofia who ordered the Double Double Animal Style.

Sofia came alone and waited roughly three hours. She added that the burgers prepared by the Malaysian crew tasted better than the ones she had in the US.

“The bread tastes crispier, I think it’s better than the ones they made in the US. It was definitely worth the wait and I think the closest local outlet that comes anywhere close to In N Out would probably be MyBurgerLab,” she said.

Customers enjoying their In-N-Out burger at Strangers at 47 in Petaling Jaya January 23, 2018.
Customers enjoying their In-N-Out burger at Strangers at 47 in Petaling Jaya January 23, 2018.

About the worm since she was the first customer, Billings allowed her the special privilege of ordering two burgers, and gifted her merchandise including an In-N-Out Burger T-shirt.

However, not everyone was as fortunate. Business owner Aizudin Khalid and wife were curious when he saw news of the event take social media by storm.

“Well, we saw that Gordon Ramsay enjoyed the burger and gave it his stamp of approval. We’ve never tried it and wanted to give it a go. I guess we won’t have the chance this time around,” said a visibly disappointed Aizudin before making his move.

Another disappointed patron was 24-year-old freelancer Amanda Khoo, who queued up at around 11.30 am with the hopes of getting a taste of the near-mythical burgers.

“I’m going to try and wait for another 10 to 20 minutes. One of my friends took half day from work just for this but he gave up when he saw the crowd. I’m very disappointed and I wish they would inform us that they are sold out,” said Khoo.

The queue continued building despite the burgers selling out and numerous attempts by the In-N-Out team to inform the public of the situation.

A man places his order at the In-N-Out pop-up store at Strangers at 47 in Petaling Jaya January 23, 2018.
A man places his order at the In-N-Out pop-up store at Strangers at 47 in Petaling Jaya January 23, 2018.

Unfortunately, there were also Malaysians who tried to take advantage of the situation.

Media practitioner Bernard Cheah observed a scalper who tried to resell a burger for an exorbitant price at the event.

“I saw him waiting by his car and overheard him offering a packet of burger for RM100 to a lady who was walking by. The lady refused to buy it from him,” Cheah said.

Priced between RM5 and RM10 for just the burger and RM18 for a full set including drinks and french fries, the burgers were considered a steal.

“The price is indicative of the US prices. Our goal was to give our customers a great experience with quality ingredients,” said Billings who did not comment on the scalpers.

However, when asked whether or not In-N-Out would make a permanent presence in Malaysia, he said that there are no plans for the immediate future.

“Even in the US we are located in only six states. Right now we are looking at all the numbers, the response and we will take the data for analysis.

“However, we are very impressed with Malaysia because we don’t even need to advertise here, when you look at the crowd,” said Billings. 

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