The story of the Snyder family of In-N-Out Burger is one of incredible success, heartbreaking tragedy, and amazing redemption. Lynsi Snyder, 39, is the third generation to run the company and serves as current CEO of the billion-dollar brand with restaurant locations throughout California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Texas, Oregon, and Colorado. The restaurant chain operates 358 locations with their claim to fame being fresh hamburger patties made from 100% American beef with whole chucks boned and ground by In-N-Out’s own butchers. They go on, “All patties are produced and delivered fresh throughout the week to the stores and are never frozen. French fries are made from fresh, whole potatoes and are hand diced.” Most stores have two lanes for drive-thru customers with limited seating for guests and incredibly long lines of people waiting to get a burger. Yet, the incredible taste brings customers back day after day. None of the restaurants are franchised and a restaurant manager makes on average $160,000 a year.
Despite the incredible success the family-owned operation has experienced, it didn’t isolate the Snyders from loss and grief. Founders Esther and Harry Snyder lost both their boys, one in a plane crash and Lynsi’s father to an accidental drug overdose.
“My world shattered,” Lynsi explained in an I Am Second video after her father died. Lynsi was especially fond of her father growing up. Losing him at 17 to a drug overdose, left her extremely vulnerable, hurting, and looking for love in all the wrong places.
To fill the void, Lynsi quickly married at age 18 after just graduating high school and shortly after losing her father. Yet the relationship failed. Then again. Then 3 failed marriages later, Snyder found herself broken and at the end of her rope.
“I can let go of the pot and the alcohol, but letting go of the guy was something different,…I didn’t want to be alone,” she shared in the I Am Second video.
It wasn’t until hitting rock bottom, relationally broken, burnt out, and rejected in her third marriage that she finally turned to God.
“God took me to a place that I’d never been before. He showed me that in that time when I felt more alone than ever, more of a piece of trash than ever, more of a failure, he was there and he was ready to love me and fill that void. He was there all along but he needed me to let go of that tangible person, my dad at first then the next guy, then the next guy and I was never willing to just let go and see that God had something better.”
In the midst of one of the worst times in her life, she realized God was the only one who could save and rescue her from her despair.
“ I was forced to this time. This was something I couldn’t change, he (3rd husband) was throwing me to the curve.”
For the first time in her life, Lynsi was alone and she was content with that because of her deepening faith in Jesus.
“I was alone and that was okay. That time alone was some of my best memories with God. I wasn’t alone, I had the Jesus who walked on water, healed the sick. I had that Jesus filling that void, touching my heart, pouring into who I am called to be rather than who I believed I was because of the things I had done.”
She realized that despite the great relationship she had and lost with her father, it couldn’t even compare with the way God loved her and the incredible love and grace he had for her.
“Even the good times with my dad can not compare with the love God has for me. God got me back up after all these failures and lift me up and see me go forward and he can be glorified. “
Today, Snyder, in addition to running In-N-Out’s 358 restaurants, started a ministry with her husband called Army of Love, connecting with other believers, mobilizing believers to do good work, and supporting the local church. Through In-N-Out they’ve also started Slave 2 Nothing Foundation, supporting addiction recovery programs.