TBD if it can be ordered animal style

Credit: photo by Bloomberg Finance LP via getty images

As a burger chain with strong Southern Californian roots, In-N-Out locations aren’t used to seeing as much cold weather as other parts of the country. But the next time a cold snap hits Los Angeles, patrons at the beloved fast food joint will be prepared. This week, it’s been revealed that In-N-Out quietly added hot cocoa to its notoriously small and unchanging menu. It's the first new addition in about 15 years.

At least one In-N-Out manager says it was first added back in November, but most reports say it rolled out last month. The drink is being billed by the press as a new item, and In-N-Out president Lynsi Snyder described it as a classic favorite that somehow got lost in the shuffle. “This is actually the return of hot cocoa,” she said. “My grandparents, Harry and Esther Snyder, served it for many years beginning in the ‘50s. 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’s “special for kids” statement actually hints at another hot cocoa perk: According to Eater San Francisco, kids under the age of 12 can receive a free hot chocolate whenever it rains.

Though hot cocoa in general has the feel of a winter seasonal offering, In-N-Out—which almost never deals in such flights of fancy—insists that its hot cocoa is a permanent, year-round menu addition that will be available at all locations. Granted, seeing as the cult Western chain is mostly located in warm weather states, hot cocoa might be a tough sell during, say, summers in Phoenix, but the hot beverage could certainly prove successful in colder locales like Utah, Oregon, and the soon to be newest In-N-Out state, Colorado.

As for the hot cocoa itself, the burger brand admits the product is relatively simple: It’s made from Ghiradelli hot cocoa powder and hot water with an optional topping of freeze-dried marshmallows. The prices match those humble ingredients, varying by location, but apparently costing no more than a couple bucks for an 8-ounce serving or a few bucks for a 16-ounce size.

For those wondering when the last time In-N-Out added a menu item, well, apparently that was at least 15 years ago when the chain added… drum roll… lemonade. Yes, In-N-Out certainly likes to keep things straightforward, and ironically enough, it’s what sets the chain apart.