In-N-Out adds first new menu item in more than a decade

The new drink is made from Ghirardelli hot cocoa mix and comes with a pack of mini marshmallows.
The new drink is made from Ghirardelli hot cocoa mix and comes with a pack of mini marshmallows. - Phyllis Cudworth

Loco for hot cocoa? Then In-N-Out Burger’s freshest menu item is sure to please.

The Irvine-based fast food chain began offering Ghirardelli hot chocolate alongside a pack of mini marshmallows at all 328 locations on Jan. 1, two corporate employees confirmed Wednesday. And it’s no seasonal offering – eight-ounce cups of cocoa will be available year-round for $1.60 apiece, while 16-ounce cups are $2.45.

In an email to the Bee, In-N-Out president Lynsi Snyder said her grandparents and company co-founders Harry and Esther Snyder served hot chocolate for several years starting in the 1950s.

“I’m not sure how it fell off the menu but it’s part of our culture and something special for kids, and I’m happy that we’re bringing it back,” Snyder said in the email. “For a certain generation, hot cocoa is an In-N-Out classic, and we hope it will be a favorite of a new generation.”

In-N-Out’s menu has thrived in its simplicity since opening in 1948. Burgers, fries and shakes – that’s about it, at least without diving into the secret menu. They’ll leave concoctions like Flamin’ Hot Mac N’ Cheetos to Burger King and other competitors.

That’s what makes Wednesday’s announcement cocoa-nuts. The last menu addition – lemonade – came 15 years ago, according to the Orange County Register.

Some Southern California restaurants rolled out the drink as early as Dec. 18, as seen in customers’ social media posts.

The announcement comes just over a month after In-N-Out announced it would open a production center and up to 50 restaurants in Colorado. In-N-Out’s definitive white-and-red decor can be seen in California, Nevada, Arizona, Texas, Utah and Oregon.

Could this hot item mean expansion to other cold-weather states is on the horizon?

Benjy Egel: 916-321-1052, @BenjyEgel