Sunday, June 5, 2011

In-N-Out & Chadder's

The Preface:
(This taste test was performed on Jan 9, 2010)
I debated whether or not to even post this taste test because one of the establishments in question is now out of business. However, I decided to preserve the results of the test, so that all who may ever pose the question "Remember Chadders? How did they compare to In-N-Out?" will have an answer to their query.

For those who are unaware, Chadder's was a burger joint that had four locations in Utah and Idaho. They were basically a rip-off of In-N-Out, and copied their menu, colors, style, everything. This seemed like a fine idea at first: bring everyone's favorite west-coast burger joint to Utah County, give it a different name and rake in the dough. But then they got sued. And then, just to spite them, In-N-Out decided to open a new location half a mile away from every Chadder's location in Utah. And now Chadder's is gone (I've heard it wasn't directly because of In-N-Out, but was instead because of bad business management by the owner, but I'm sure the competition didn't help). (Also, we were originally going to make this a three-way taste test and include EZ Take Out Burger, which was a very similar type of burger joint, but they went out of business a couple weeks before we did this test...)

While they were both still around, however, I needed to know:


The Competitors:
In-N-Out Double-Double Burger ($2.99) vs Chadder's Stubby-Double Burger ($3.65)
In-N-Out "Animal Style" Double-Double Burger ($2.99) vs Chadder's "Stubby Style" Stubby-Double Burger ($3.65)
In-N-Out  regular french fries ($1.29) vs Chadder's regular french fries ($1.99)
In-N-Out "Animal Style" fries ($3.19) vs Chadder's "Stubby Style" fries ($2.49)
In-N-Out Strawberry Milkshake ($1.85) vs Chadder's Strawberry Milkshake ($2.35)

The Participants:

The Methodology:
To make it a blind test (at least for three of us, Kat prepared each sample for us, so it wasn't blind for her) each food item was assigned a number. She then put each burger onto its own plate and cut it into four pieces. Each sample of fries was also assigned a number and put onto a plate. And each milkshake was transfered to a glass cup so we weren't able to tell which joint it came from.

Kat explaining the rules with the 8 sample plates awaiting us

When it was time to test, we tried a sample of the regular burger from one joint, then its competitor and decided which was better (at first we gave each sample a score from 1 to 10, but by the end we just did a simple "X is better than Y").

The Results:
In the Double-Double vs Stubby Double Burger match-up:
Andrew, Jeff and Kat preferred In-N-Out, while Jen preferred Chadder's. However, Jen's preference came because she didn't like In-N-Out's onions. Jeff hated the Chadder's burger, giving it a 2.

In the "Animal Style"vs "Stubby Style" Burger match-up:
Andrew and Kat felt they were equal, while Jen and Jeff both preferred In-N-Out. This was a closer fight, though.

In the regular fries match-up:
Chadder's actually won this battle. Everyone preferred the Chadder's.

In the "Animal Style" vs "Stubby Style" fries matchup:
This was a tie. Jen hated the cheese on the Chadder's fries, and Jeff said they were too oniony. We all thought the In-N-Out fries tasted burnt. The Chadder's had better sauce on it.

In the Strawberry Milkshake match-up:
In-N-Out wins, with only Jen liking Chadder's more. In-N-Out's was quite artificial tasting, though, and reminded us of Strawberry Quick.

The Chadder's bill was $14.13 (plus tax). The in-N-Out bill was $13.27 (plus tax).

So overall, In-N-Out won 3 of the 5 match-ups, Chadder's won 1, and 1 was a tie. So In-N-Out is the overall winner, though not by a landslide. And Jen and I both very much prefer Carl's Jr and Five Guys to either of these (and pretty much every other) burger place. When it comes down to it, here's my suggestion: If you're in Utah County and are looking for a really great burger, no matter the cost, go to Five Guys. If you're looking for a more fast-food style burger, go to Carl's Jr. If you're looking for fast-food style, but a less expensive option, go to In-N-Out (rather than Wendy's, McDonald's etc). But don't go to Chadder's. Because they're closed.