Like much of northern California, the city of Oakland has continued to spiral downward in a doom loop over the past several years. The city’s story is sadly not all that different from what’s been seen in San Francisco and other blue cities. Seemingly endemic problems erode the living conditions for residents, leading to an exodus of people who can afford to escape and the closures of many businesses. Now another iconic business is joining those ranks. For the past 18 years, In-N-Out Burger has been operating in Oakland, but in March they will be closing their doors permanently. Some businesses such as Walgreen’s have been more vague about their reasons for leaving, citing things such as shifting demand or supply chain issues. But In-N-Out Burger isn’t pulling any punches. They came out and basically said they can’t afford to stay in operation because they’re getting robbed too often and it’s not a safe environment for their customers or their employees. (NY Post)
In-N-Out Burger’s only location in Oakland is closing after the cherished fast-food joint decided it could no longer risk the safety of fed-up workers and patrons in the city plagued by recent crime.
The location will shut its doors in March — despite the burger spot turning a profit — because of the constant crime in the community, In-N-Out Chief Operating Officer Denny Warnick said in a sudden announcement over the weekend.
The fast food joint has been in the California city for 18 years.
The COO cited a litany of crimes that have impacted both his workers and their customers. He listed “car break-ins, property damage, theft, and armed robberies,” among others. Strangely, even with all of that going on, the shop remains popular enough that they have still been able to turn a profit. But they will prioritize safety considerations above that and close down anyway.
Oakland Police appeared to confirm the issues being cited by the management. They recorded a 38% increase in reported robberies from 2022 to 2023. Burglaries were up 23% and vehicular theft jumped 44% in the same period. In-N-Out Burger seems to be trying to do its best to help the workers, offering them transfers to shops in other locations, but not everyone can afford to simply pick up and move. Other workers will be offered a severance package.
Unfortunately, this is just another symptom of the progress of the doom loop. When the government can not or will not provide a safe environment and prioritizes the concerns of criminals over those of the lawful, people will begin to leave if they can. Businesses will follow them. Then the city increasingly begins to look like a dystopian hellscape, with junkies ODing on the streets and formerly successful businesses displaying broken windows covered with plywood sheets sporting graffiti.
In-N-Out Burger should consider packing up its West Coast operations and relocating to South Dakota. Kristi Noem’s reforms there have been attracting tens of thousands of hungry new residents who would probably love a good burger. The state now has a jobs grant program that offers funds for new or relocating businesses to get set up. Those burger joints should have little to no trouble attracting either customers or workers among all of the new families moving to the state. And the crime rates are absolutely nothing compared to what they’re dealing with in California.