The best or worst four hours of your life?
Many Bangkokians were left heartbroken today when California’s cult-favorite In-N-Out Burger opened a four-hour pop-up on Sukhumvit Road with hardly any warning.
News of the pop-up diner came to light just 24 hours before the event, and only on due to a Facebook post by a little-known Sukhumvit Soi 10 bistro and wine bar called CY Cabin.
Mostly written in Thai, the discreet black-and-white flyer touting a four-hour window to try the American West Coast’s most in-demand burger could easily have been written off as “fake news.”
Though the event kicked off at 11am, reports suggest that the queue was still only three people-strong by noon. This steadily increased and, by little past 2pm (an hour ahead of schedule), the dream was gone: the 300 burgers completely sold out, and rage ensued for the people who came late to the news.
“Shut the f*ck up!!! I so mad right now," said one impassioned comment of BK's news story from LA-native Joseph Triano. "I've lived in Thailand for 3 years. No one here will understand my love for in n out. And now they throw a pop up in BKK for 4 hours on a Wednesday and I can't get to it! I hate my life.”
The divisiveness of this promotional exercise was not lost on Eric Billings, In-N-Out’s foreign events manager, who said, “The popup in Bangkok was long-awaited and all part of our market testing. We did a pop-up in Chiang Mai about three years ago and we knew Bangkok would be popular.”
“We are serving 300 burgers today with potato chips and Coke. There are no french fries because we couldn’t get the right potatoes and oil that we use,” Billings said.
Meanwhile, for the lucky few who got wind of the news and into the queue on time, it was all smiles and high-fives. “I heard about the event through a friend in Chiang Mai today,” one of the lucky ones, Gerard Jiravanichsakul, who works for Sansiri, told us. “I took a motorbike immediately and was happy to see not so many people in line.”
Another local face in the queue, who only gave his name as “The Bear,” said he drove over an hour to get a taste of the famous burgers.
While the chances of In N Out opening a full-time branch in Bangkok anytime soon are slim to nothing, we can at least take some solace in Billings’ assertion that they “are hoping to definitely have another stint soon.”
First opened in 1948 in Baldwin Park, California, In N Out has built its name on its straight-up, all-American burgers made with quality ingredients. Part of the appeal is its relative scarcity: with 328 branches (no franchises!), all on the West Coast. Outside the US, the brand has been known to host super-short-term popups, from London and Tokyo to Kuala Lumpur (in January) and now Bangkok.