I was in LA talking about this topic with some bona fide burger experts, and what I said and have always thought is this: 1) It's a pure west coast style burger - the sauce is a thousand island spread, the burgers are diapered and put in the box and it represents a diner-style burger more than other fast food places. McDonald's and the Big Mac is also a west coast burger IMO, but obviously an InO is fresher and tastier. 2) ^ Fresher and tastier - it's hard to get that kind of fresh produce on a burger consistently at any other fast food place. If you've ever eaten at a fast food burger place in the midwest, you'll know that the produce is just old and bad looking. 3) In n Out does presentation better than any other place - Five Guys burgers literally look like someone has stepped on them, InO's are clean and fresh looking, it's a much more pleasant sensory experience that probably makes them less low-class than other fast food burger chains. It is a food with a pure intent and makes few other statements, whereas Burger King and McDonald's, they are loaded up the ying-yang with marketing and the constant rotation of marketing spiel and 'healthy' shit one day and crazy shit the next day. In n Out is much like the way ramen is in Japan - stores with very simple menus, the ability to slightly modify your orders to taste, the high class rubbing elbows with the working class - because everyone is on the same plain to just eat some quick comfort food.