Friday, June 8, 2012

No bikes allowed in the In-N-Out drive-thru

Yesterday evening, Jonah and I were out running errands in the bakfiets after dropping the girls off at gymnastics. I decided to pick up food at In-N-Out for dinner. The bakfiets had a few shopping bags with birthday gifts, Jonah was happily sitting, and we were in a bit of a hurry to pick up the girls, so I decided to bike through the drive-thru. I pedaled myself slowly in the line for a bit until an employee came to me and informed me that, "Non-motorized vehicles are not allowed in the drive-thru." So silly, but what was I to do? I understand and respect that the company can make its own rules. We went inside to purchase our food.

After returning home, I sent off an email to In-N-Out, requesting that the no bicycle policy be changed. I received a call from a customer service rep this afternoon explaining that the "no bicycle" rule is for my safety. A car could bump and hurt me and they'd be held liable. Sounds pretty lame to me. The cars are moving so slowly that even if I did get bumped, I seriously doubt any harm would be done.

Out of curiosity, I did a quick google search of "bicycles fast food drive-thru". My impression is that sometimes restaurants allow it, sometimes they don't, and often there is no company-wide policy on the matter.The only restaurant that appears to explicitly allow bikes is Burgerville. They created the policy after family biker Sarah Gilbert tweeted about her experience of being refused service on her bike at the drive-thru.

So, now what? I could boycot In-N-Out. I could try appealing to someone higher up. Or I could just get on with my life and not worry about it-- which is probably what I'll end up doing...


  1. We have never been turned away in the bank drive-through (have never been to a fast food place by bike..). Curious about this policy, as it would seem that any place where cars are lined up would be bad policy by their records (like at stop lights?).

  2. The "for your safety" argument doesn't hold water. You're much more at risk of being hit riding through the parking lot where people drive up to 20 mph. The narrow, constrained space that is the drive-thru is much safer.

    Another reason I've heard is that they photograph car license plates in the drive-thru in case of robbery. With a bike, there's no license to ID. But both reasons are pretty darn silly.