In a recent and rare interview, In-N-Out owner and heiress Lynsi Snyder opened up about the role faith has played in her life and how it has shaped her family’s business.
At just 28 years old, Snyder became the president of the West Coast chain. By 35, she was the sole owner. Today, the 37-year-old is both the owner and president of the $3 billion company and ranks as the #3 CEO on Glassdoor.
Although Snyder has had a successful career in the food industry, her personal life hasn’t been all that easy. In her twenties, Snyder had three failed marriages, one after the other.
“I have learned so much through my broken relationships along with the ups and downs that come through marriage,” she told The Christian Post. “I’ve been the one to hurt, and I’ve been hurt. I have gained insight and growth through both sides of the coin.”
Although Snyder experienced tragedy after tragedy, she did not let the failed marriages become her identity. Instead, she looked to God and focused her efforts on following Him.
“Prior to the journey of marriage, it’s so important to seek time and healing with Jesus,” she said. “Even if you are blessed to be healed of personal wounds and past relationship baggage, life will still bring hurdles and trials to overcome in your relationship.”
Snyder, who is the only living grandchild of In-N-Out founders Harry and Esther Snyder, has tried to uphold the biblical principles that her grandparents instilled in the company they founded in 1948.
The heiress pointed out that she has worked to “maintain what we’ve started with: Not compromising the quality of product, service, or standards.”
“My grandparents set the bar high and I only try to raise it,” she said.
Servant leadership and spiritual warfare
Snyder went on to share how over the past couple of years, she has been pushing the idea of “servant leadership” within the business.
“It was tough in the beginning, but now people see the benefits and feel the love,” she said. “All families have their issues and we aren’t perfect, but we try really hard and there are so many good-hearted people here. I love my job.”
In 2013, Snyder, who felt called to serve God in a way that extended beyond her business practices, launched Army of Love, which she told The Christian Post was a “vision borne in a painful time in my life.”
“I was calling out to God as my third marriage was failing. I was in a place where I felt I couldn’t do ministry because my own heart and home were a mess,” she said. “My husband and I were in constant turmoil. I became desperate for the hope that I could be used by God despite my circumstances.”
Snyder recalled a moment she had while driving in New Orleans one day, when the words of Isiah 61 came to mind: “He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.”
“I knew that I would be a part of a ministry that would unify the body of Christ into soldiers who would reach out to one another and to the lost in the last days,” she said. “Many people attend church, but the pool of discipleship is shallow, so I saw training modules online to disciple people and take them deeper than they may have gone attending church or Bible study. I envisioned this Army uniting various ministries and supporting churches and organizations.”
She pointed out how important it is to equip the church to handle the demonic pressures and temptations that attack believers every single day.
“The battle over souls is being waged in the heavenly,” Snyder said. “We want to be on the front lines of this battle to save the lost and bring fallen Christians back to their first love.”
At the same time that she was trying to reunite Christians with their first love, Snyder met her current husband, Sean Ellingson, and got married shortly after.
“I find it amazing that my quest for love was fulfilled in my time alone with Jesus so that I was ready for my husband and my calling,” she said. “Sean was the perfect leader and general to help me launch this ministry, returning from serving in the U.S. Army to lead God’s Army.”
“These life-changing events brought this Army of Love even more depth, meaning, and purpose,” she added. “We currently have people enlisted in the mentored online discipleship training and have been partnering with the ministry of Teen Challenge to assist their staff and students to be more unified, equipped, and set free to serve more effectively.”
The important role Bible verses play at In-N-Out
In the early ’90s, In-N-Out began adding Bible verses to the different product wrappers and containers to spread the Snyder family’s faith to the popular burger chain’s many patrons.
“It was my uncle Rich who put the Bible verses on the cups and wrappers in the early ‘90s, just before he passed away,” Snyder told The Christian Post. “He had just accepted the Lord and wanted to put that little touch of his faith on our brand. It’s a family business and will always be, and that’s a family touch. In later years, I added verses to the fry boat, coffee, and hot cocoa cups.”
The soda cup includes the text of John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
The French fry container Snyder mentioned cites Proverbs 24:16, which reads: “For though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again, but the wicked are brought down by calamity,” The coffee cup cites Luke 6:35, which reads: “But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.”
You can view the full list of Bible verses included on In-N-Out products here.
While Snyder is busy running the $3 billion chain and her own nonprofit, she credits the power of God for keeping her going.
“Picture our lives being a power strip. We plug so many things into the power strip — work, family, hobbies, and God,” she explained. “But that is all wrong. God must be the power strip and everything in our life should be plugged into Him as our power source. He gives us life and then we have His power in everything we do.”
“He shouldn’t be one of the ‘plug-ins’ in our life, but rather we should live plugged into Him and the calling He has for us,” she said.