Despite often being spoken in the same breath, Shake Shack and In-N-Out couldn't be any more different. Shake Shack was launched in the 21st century in New York City as a side project of a celebrity chef. In-N-Out was created in 1948 by a humble couple in Baldwin Park, California. Shake Shack went public in 2014. In-N-Out is still a privately-owned franchise and has resisted spreading itself too thin.
But they're considered by many to be the two best burger chains in America, and those who don't think either is the best certainly have an opinion on the matter.
The numbers don't lie. So with that, here's how they compare when it comes to the data.
The map above shows the coastal bias of the two chains: Shake Shack on the East Coast and In-N-Out on the west coast. In fact, the latter has refused to go any further east than Texas. Meanwhile, Shake Shack has ventured not just to the west coast, but internationally as well.
As of this month, Shake Shack has locations in Tokyo, Seoul, Manila, Osaka, Kyoto, London, Singapore, Hong Kong, Cardiff, Istanbul, Moscow, Muscat, Beirut, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Doha, Kuwait City, Riyadh, Shanghai, Manama, and Jeddah. It has 208 locations throughout the world. Its revenue in 2018 was $459.
Meanwhile, In-N-Out has 347 locations, all in the United States. Most are in California, where the chain was founded, but there are also In-N-Outs in Arizona, Nevada, Oregon, Texas, Utah, and Colorado. Its revenue in 2017 was $575 million.
In Southern California, where In-N-Out was created, fans have a bevvy of options. While In-N-Out lines Los Angeles and San Diego's main thoroughfares, Shake Shack is making itself known in the two city's more upscale and tourist-friendly areas.
In New York City, where Shake Shack was created in Madison Square Park, burger fans are out of luck if they're looking for some In-N-Out. Of course, they have other, options, including Five Guys, Smashburger, and delicious one-offs like Corner Bistro and Minetta Tavern.
But there's no In-N-Out in NYC, and In-N-Out's owners have made it abundantly clear that there never will be.