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In-N-Out Burger Saga in Jakarta

By now you must’ve heard about the IN-N-OUT Burger hype in Jakarta today. Not surprisingly, this news invited many oohs and aahs, and also skepticism. I felt both. While I didn’t mind having a nostalgic bite of this burger, I questioned its taste and quality. I knew that if I wanted to get it, I’d have to be there hours earlier, but I chose longer sleeptime.

We got there at around 11, which was the scheduled and announced start of the service time. It was crowded, but not as crowded as expected, and the reason being the big sign posted at the steps of Emax in Kemang that said “Sorry, Burgers Sold Out.” I found out later on, after speaking with one of the IN-N-OUT guys that the burgers have been sold out since 8 am. People have been lining up since 6:30 am. The spirit! What I heard, though, that those eager early birds were chauffeurs and maids dispatched by their nons, nyonyas, and tuans to be the first to obtain a wristband which gets you a burger.

How it works is that depending on your arrival time, you get a certain color wristband, which you need for collecting the burger at an assigned window time (see the photo below). What makes little sense to me is this: what’s the point of announcing that service time starts at 11 am when they actually began “serving” (aka handing out wristbands that buy the burgers) as early as 6 am? Doesn’t that just defeat the purpose?

If I wanted a burger, sensibly, I’d come a little before 11 or at most a half hour or an hour ahead. How would I have known to come 5 hours prior? To top it off, their quota was supposed to be 300 burgers (as they had for Singapore, the Philippines, and other Asian countries in which they previously did a pop-up show-up), but eventually served only 100 because the other 200 were stuck at customs. One would think they would’ve anticipated and prepared for this nudge. Welcome to Indonesia, where everything simple becomes complicated.

IN N OUT Burger Saga

I would’ve been disgruntled that I went all the way to Kemang but didn’t get a bite of this famed burger, but I wasn’t after I found out that the ingredients they used today were local ingredients and the burgers were made by local staff. I mean, let’s be real, they cannot possibly beat the original. Anyway, thought I’d give you an update on this saga–as the title gave away, one that had neither a beginning nor an end. In case you are still craving IN-N-OUT burgers, here’s a recipe from Serious Eats recommended to me by a friend. It’s called The Ins-n-Outs of an In-N-Out Double-Double, Animal-Style. Enjoy!

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