Skip to comments.In-N-Out secret menu hoax: Fans go ape online for 'Monkey Style' burger that doesn't exist
Posted on 07/04/2013 12:54:09 AM PDT by Bullish
Last summer "Gangnam Style" became a viral sensation.
This summer that sensation might have been a "Monkey Style" burger -- if only it existed.
An Internet hoax targeting devotees of In-N-Out Burger fooled more than a few customers and even mainstream news outlets this week, despite the restaurant's insistence that there is no such thing as "Monkey Style" -- a burger jammed with grilled onions and french fries.
The hoax, which first appeared on Foodbeast, got mentioned on some blogs, on a newspaper website and even garnered a tweet and photograph from an ESPN and ABC News reporter who declared that the fictional burger appears on In-N-Out's "secret menu."
"In-N-Out new secret menu order: Monkey Style (animal style fries in a burger pic.twitter.com/Kqbok4WL6i (H/T @jordynhall4, @foodbeast)," reporter Darren Rovell wrote.
But, there's no such thing.
So how does one cook up a media frenzy?
It began at 8:51 a.m. on Friday. Foodbeast's Elie Ayrouth wrote a short blog and included a YouTube video of him ordering the burger, which he claimed to have heard about on Twitter.
"Our particular quest to In-N-Out was fruitful," he wrote.
It took off from there. Soon tweets, retweets, blog entries and Facebook posts proclaimed the fictional concoction a sensation. Some even added photos of the non-existent product.
Then, stories about the fabled "Monkey Style" burger -- and links to Ayrouth's video -- appeared on the Huffington Post and the Los Angeles Times' websites. The Times has since corrected its original report.
"The Los Angeles Times prizes accuracy and its responsibility to its readers," said spokeswoman Nancy Sullivan. "Once we realized a mistake had been made, it was corrected."
Had it been real, Ayrouth's "Monkey Style" was essentially a burger injected with a fistful of fries, extra spread, cheese and grilled onions.
By Tuesday a spokesman for the chain denied any such creation existed -- secret or otherwise.
"There is no such thing," said Carl Van Fleet, In-N-Out's vice president of planning and development. "For a variety of reasons, we're unable to prepare burgers in the manner that a few websites have described as 'Monkey Style.'"
But his words didn't stop a flood of stories, proof to some that new media creates a highly competitive environment on the web and in social networks like YouTube, Twitter and Facebook, said Mike Ananny, an assistant professor at USC's Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.
"Journalists know that they're competing with social media," Ananny said. "If a story is already circulating on Twitter -- getting what journalists think is many retweets and replies -- a news organization might publish prematurely so they don't appear out of the loop or inattentive. They (might) think that readers will debunk false reporting for themselves or will tell the news organization when they got it wrong."
Scott B. Anderson, an assistant professor at Medill School at Northwestern University, added another layer to the problem: the changing nature of news organizations themselves.
"There are now clearly fewer safety nets in place," Anderson said. "Many veteran journalists who once held the 'institutional knowledge' for the newsroom are gone. Online operations in many cases have a lighter pre-publication review process than print and, in some cases, only one set of eyes is all that a piece of content gets -- and those eyes are the person who did the reporting or aggregation."
The ruse worked because it incorporated an element of truth, In-N-Out's "Not So Secret Menu," which the company posts on its website.
Van Fleet noted the menu includes "Grilled Cheese," "Animal Style" (lettuce, tomato, mustard-cooked patty, extra pickles and spread, and grilled onions), "4x4" (four beef patties and four slices of American cheese stuffed into a bun) and "Protein Style" (burger wrapped in lettuce instead of a bun).
"We only serve burgers, fries and drinks, and we've always made each burger exactly the way a customer orders it," he said. "Over the years many of those variations were given names, usually by the customers who frequently ordered their burger that way. We never set out to create or pioneer a 'secret menu.' Some of the names for those variations just stuck."
An employee at In-N-Out in Alhambra said she probably will have to give the bad news to eager customers for a while.
About six people tried to order "Monkey Style" burgers on Monday and Tuesday, the employee said.
"We don't have 'Monkey Style,'" she said to a customer who tried to order it. "Are you talking about 'Animal Style' fries in a burger? There's been a rumor going around. We have 'Animal Style' -- grilled onions, spread, mustard and pickle -- but we don't have 'Monkey Style.'"
Waiting for the first post that blames In-N-Out for the CONSUMER’S stupidity.
Whoa! Sorry, I work in marketing ... Does In 'n' Out even have a marketing department? With that kind of press, first you alert your franchisees, then you honor orders for the burger (it's NOT like it's a difficult task) for a day or so. THEN you with good humor respond to the Twitter Kerfuffle in a lighthearted press conference at which time you offer 50 percent off for your stuff for the next eight or so hours. It's NOT that difficult!
I’ll have to remember to ask a buddy about this. We were traveling, and I think it was an “In-N-Out” stand that we stopped in at. He was bragging about growing up near one, and if you ask for it, they will make you a “secret” burger of some sort. But it’s not on the menu. Of course when he asked the gal at the one we were at she looked at him like he had two heads.
I imagine where he grew up the chef was a friend of an older brother or something and made up the “secret” burgers for them.
See #4. I only fault In ‘n’ Out for not knowing how to play it!
OK, I didn’t wait long.
It’s simply astonishing how many businesses these days have absolutely no idea how to make lemonade out of lemons ... and after that “motivational poster” has been up in their break rooms for 30 years!
Idiots. Don’t these clowns realize that INNO has not changed their menu for the past 50 years??? It’s still the same 3 menu combo and that’s why it succeeds, in some weird way. I’m lucky here in Hollywood that there’s an In N Out AND Chick Fil A 2 blocks between each other which is rare.
“There is no such thing,” said Carl Van Fleet, In-N-Out’s vice president of planning and development. “For a variety of reasons, we’re unable to prepare burgers in the manner that a few websites have described as ‘Monkey Style.’”
Well, considering how much interest this seems to have garnered, a good executive would probably try to take advantage and find a way to serve up what the customers want, eh?
I live less than 2 miles from the second ever In N out in SoCal. I kinda grew up eating them.
Nowadays I think they suck!
Actually, that sounds pretty good!
Same here - lucky in Ventura County.
In the 101 Freeway corridor there’s ‘In N Out’ between Thousand Oaks and Newbury Park; Camarillo; and Ventura - ones closest to us.
Chick Fil A in Ventura.
I’ve seen monkeys and their “style”.
Good grief, you dummies, put it on the menu right now, and make sure the profit margin is high. Run with it. It’s not as if you don’t already have all the necessary ingredients.
It’s a pity that In-and-Out doesn’t exploit this as a “limited time offer”. They might be able to do it like McDonald’s offers the McRib.
Otherwise, *some* Starbucks have an elaborate secret menu, for those who like their liquid candy with a vaguely coffee flavor:
Zebra Mocha (combination of white-chocolate and chocolate mocha)
Red-Tux aka Bleeding Penguin (Mocha w/raspberry flavoring)
Chocolate Dalmatian (java chips and chocolate chips to a white chocolate mocha)
Raspberry Cheesecake (white chocolate mocha is added with a few shots of raspberry. Whipped cream and vanilla sprinkles are optional)
Nutella (Cafe Misto with a shot of both chocolate and hazelnut syrup, along with a real drop of caramel)
Three C’s (Cinnamon Dolce latte + Caramel syrup + Chocolate mocha syrup)
Short Cappuccino (Italian style. Less milk and a stronger flavor)
Cafe au Lait (Misto without foam)
Marble Mocha Macchiato (White mocha on the bottom with no whip, shot on the top and mocha drizzle)
Short Drink (Just a small coffee)
Cheapo (A double shot of espresso on ice with few packs of brown sugar)
The Dirty Hippy (Chai Tea Latte with soy instead of regular milk)
Dirty Chai (Chai latte (hot or iced) with a shot of espresso)
Double Dirty or Extra Dirty (two shots)
Widow Maker (Half iced black tea, half iced black coffee)
London Fog (Earl Grey tea w/vanilla flavoring)
Poor Man’s Latte (An Iced Americano with no water and half ice and then add the half and half available at the milk and condiments table)
Poor Man’s Chai Latte (Chai Tea Misto with extra foam, two tea bags and half cinnamon-half vanilla syrup)
Apple Juice Orange Blossom (Tazo Orange Blossom Tea steeped in steamed apple juice with no water)
Red Eye (Coffee plus 1 shot of espresso)
Black Eye (Coffee plus 2 shots of espresso)
Green Eye (Coffee plus 3 shots of espresso)
French Pressed Coffee (any coffee)(highly recommended)
Affogato-Style (Order any Frappe “affogato-style” and you’ll get a shot of hot espresso added on top of your drink as opposed to having it blended in)
Banana Cream Pie (Vanilla Bean creme with vanilla and hazelnut syrups, whipped cream, and a whole banana)
Captain Crunch (hazelnut or toffee nut syrup in a Strawberries and Creme)
Cookies & Cream
Grasshopper (Mocha with java chips and peppermint syrup)
Samoa (mocha coconut with caramel drizzle)
Snickers (Java Chip with two pumps of toffee nut and a caramel drizzle)
Thin Mint (Tazo Green Tea Creme with chocolate syrup and java chips)
Oh shucks. I thought this was because the had the N word, er, that is letter in their name.
The best thing about In-N-Out is that they don’t have franchisees.....all company stores.
Seems to me like the fries would turn to mush in about one minute. I like them crisp
“Same here - lucky in Ventura County.”
Mexifornia sucks but there are things here which make it tolerable LOL
Except they wouldn’t have to change anything about their cheeseburgers or ingredients to serve these up, since they are entirely composed of already existing menu items. Also, the “secret menu” itself is an already existing gimmick, and the items on there are there because of popular demand, so this wouldn’t be anything novel at all.
Aren’t you at least a little embarrassed to display such vast knowledge of Starbuck’s?
Not really, because the only thing I’ve ever had at a Starbucks was a French pressed, once, and I’m not even enough of a coffee drinker to appreciate any difference in it. The list I got off the web.
I used to drink my coffee with cream and sweetener and even tried a few of starbux flavored offerings.
Starbux prices suck. Stopped going there and drink coffee black now.
Did not know one could get French Press at Starbucks. That’s how I make mine at home. Might be useful info if I am desperate some day. Thanks
In N out does have a ‘secret’ menu. Google it. I order the fries ‘animal-style’ and they are awesome!
and they do grill onions and they have a cargo-burger and grilled cheese.
Those who say INO hasen’t changed the men since the double-double missed the shakes.
The non-menu items ar great in their word of mouth with the customers
I’ve been eating at INO since 1963 in Pomona on Town SAve. They closed that one after 2 armed robberies in a month and opened on Indian Hill.
I have never been a fan of their fries, too soggy.
I liked the old two lane with the buildings in between. You could see the employees fresh cutting fires, tomatoes, etc. No frozen ingredients.
The founders would not expand beyond an easy ride so they could visit all of the stores. After the husband died, the wife ran it for awhile. She turned it over to a CEO and they started expanding outside of the LA area.
PS I like the politeness of service at Chik-Fil-A, but INO has the sharpest group I’ve seen.
I read a lot about In and Out but have not seen a local chain - Pal’s mentioned. They have a cool website. Check the timeline for a true American success story.
Haven’t seen one, but my sister lives near Wytheville VA in a little place called Max Meadows. Have to duck into TN and check it out.
By the way there is a little place in downtown Wytheville where two women have a sandwich shop and also serve chili dogs. About 4 years ago they were a dollar, so I splurged and had two. Worth a visit if you head that way during daytime hours.
Thanx for the info
another favorite of mine is Morrison’s drive in outside Logan WVA on HWY 10 toward Man. Chicken basket the best.