Down to Business: In-N-Out Burger Looks at Novato for New Location

The company has confirmed that it is hunting for a good place to build a restaurant, and one natural site in Ignacio happens to be for sale.

Novato residents may not have to make the trek to Mill Valley or Petaluma too much longer to get their In-N-Out Burger fix.  The company has confirmed that it is looking at a Novato location for a new drive-through eatery.

Carl Van Fleet, In-N-Out's vice-president of planning and development, confirmed the news to Novato Patch.

“We are, in fact, working on a site there," he wrote in an e-mail. "We are really enthusiastic about the opportunities in Novato but please know that this is still very early in the process. Once we begin construction on a restaurant, it usually takes up to five months to build, and we still have a lot to do before we can even consider starting construction.”

Although a site has not been named, one property the company has toured is located in Ignacio at 400 Enfrente Road, a few feet from southbound Highway 101.  The long-vacant building on the property was formerly an automotive service station and car wash. The lot shares a border with and is across the street from the and a station.

The site has been listed for sale/lease by Keegan & Coppin for several months.  It was reduced in price by $450,000 and is listed at $1,300,000. 

In-N-Out’s real estate and development department has a set of minimum standards when looking at potential sites. According to the company's real estate website, potential locations must have a 50,000-or-more traffic count, located in a population of 60,000 or greater with a median income of $45,000. Preferred sites include those next to freeway locations and major intersections. High visibility, easy ingress/egress, and the ability to use their “classic” image of signage are other key criteria.

The Enfrente Road location has a traffic count of 149,000, according to Keegan & Coppin's marketing material. According the city’s demographic data and the 2010 census, Novato’s population is nearly 52,000 but jumps to 71,000 when adding residents within seven miles of the city. Average household income is notably higher than the national average at $105,000, according to city data.  While Novato’s per capita income is a $41,000, In-N-Out’s minimum requirement is $45,000 median income in the trade area.

In-N-Out Burger standards also specifiy a drive-through with enough space to allow at least 12 cars to stack up in addition to 45 parking spaces. In Mill Valley, traffic was a big hurdle for In-N-Out Burger and the location in Strawberry was approved without a drive-through window. 

Parking might be a hitch for the Enfrente Road property. Square footage falls short of the company's minimum 45,000 square feet required by about 16,519 square feet.

A new building would have to go through the city’s design review process and approvals, including a potential traffic study.

For a story about In-N-Out's Mill Valley location, click here.


Body Kinetics Ribbon-Cutting

Novato Chamber of Commerce members will welcome new member at a ribbon-cutting ceremony from 5:30-6:30 p.m. April 12 at the exercise facility at 1530 Center Road.

Formerly Nautilus of Marin, new owner Michael Jenkins opened Body Kinetics in January. Since that time, Jenkins said that he has nearly completed a major renovation to the facility including interior and exterior paint, hardwood flooring and energy efficient lighting. 

Jenkins said the changes plus new equipment and classes have helped bring in 165 new members over the past three months.  

The Dailey Method Comes to Pacheco Plaza

Staying on the fitness beat, Anne-Marie McMahan has signed a lease for 2,160 square feet of space at the newly refurbished Pacheco Plaza shopping center for a new exercise facility, the Dailey Method. The facility will be located betweenand the .

The Dailey Method features classes that focus on ballet barre work, core conditioning, stretching and orthopedic exercises. There will be two studios, on-site childcare, locker rooms and a retail area for fitness apparel.

McMahan said this is the second Dailey Method facility to open in Marin.  She said the Corte Madera facility has been very successful and has online signups for its most popular classes.

According to McMahan, she expects the facility build-out to take 60 days and is planning for a mid-June opening.  

Editor's note

Novato Patch business columnist Nancy O'Neill is on hiatus, so Tracey Ruiz is filling in. Future story tips can be e-mailed to Tracey by clicking on her byline.

Lynn Gleason April 08, 2011 at 02:33 PM
In And Out would be a great addition for Novato. Hopefully all the logistics can be worked out. It would be a win-win for the city and create some new jobs.
GraceAnn Walden April 08, 2011 at 02:44 PM
Not all In-N-Outs are drive-throughs. If the site was a service station that might be a problem. I love In-N-Out. It is the only fast food place I patronize.
Marina Nims April 08, 2011 at 03:03 PM
I hope In-N-Out does come here! It will keep our kids from going on late night forays to Petaluma, so it seems like a nice saftey bonus to me. They also use some locally-sourced ingredients, so it is somewhat more green than most fast food. And they offer very good pay and benefits. The Mill Valley zoning commission prohibited a drive-through and it seems as if their traffic problem is actually WORSE than if they had allowed one. So let's hope it In-N-Out comes here and that we allow them a drive-through =)
Andrea Swetland April 08, 2011 at 03:15 PM
In & Out is a great fast food restaurant and it would be fantastic for them to open here. They sell burgers. That's it. I think it's ridiculous to say thar ALL other fast food places would close their doors. It's a great menu for 3 basic burgers and people will continue to go to McDonalds, KFC, Taco Bell and Jack in the box. Just depends on what you want that day. Competition creates quality. I'm more worried about council making smart decisions. Fred, with gas prices and more people working from home, etc. people are much more hesitant to go "out of their way" to save a few dollars. Hopefully cities will have the stores they need in their areas - keep more people closer to home for their shopping.
Lou Judson April 08, 2011 at 03:17 PM
Excatly what I was going to say, MV was stupidly trying to prevent a NIMBY problem but made the traffic and parking worse! If we get one here, I'll never go to the MV one again. Bring it on!
Karen Dionne April 08, 2011 at 03:50 PM
I'm not sure we really need another fast food restaurant in this area, but I would rather have In-N-Out than the others. Fast food is part of why our country is so over weight. We need to slow down our lives and our eating, move away from large corporate businesses, and wake up to what truly matters - eating healthier, less processed food. Not to mention the air pollution that drive-thrus encourage with idling cars. Thanks for listening.
Patrick Nims April 08, 2011 at 04:03 PM
Fred - Are you seriously suggesting that every other fast food in Novato will close if an In-N-Out opens? In Mill Valley the McDonalds, and Jack In the Box are still there. Petaluma still has TacoBell, Burger King, KFC, McDonalds and Jack In The Box. Rohnert Park has McDonalds, TacoBell, Pollo Loco, Jack In The Box, Subway, Burger King, Quiznos, Arby's, Carl's Jr. and Baja Fresh in addition to their In-N-Out. I think that a municipality of 71,000 people can support more than one fast food resturant.
Lou Judson April 08, 2011 at 04:28 PM
KD, if you stop at the MV location at a busy time, yoiu will see that looking and waiting for parking, and jockeying for position is much more polluting than idling in line... Plus it is much more dangerous for people who choose to park and eat, as there is a racecourse happening in the lot...
Tom Atkin April 08, 2011 at 05:17 PM
Love In and Out. I'm all for it. Good tax dollars for the city. I'm very confident in our current city council configuration.
Baxter April 08, 2011 at 05:49 PM
I've been waiting for this for a long time!! Novato got Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, See's Candies and now In & Out! What more could anyone ask for! My mouth is watering already!! If the Ignacio site doesn't work out, I always thought the Marinwood Exit would be a great site. It's a little further from Novato but close to Terra Linda.
Lynn Gleason April 08, 2011 at 06:04 PM
Fred, you must be delusional if you think other fast food restaurants would close just because In&Out would be opening. We live in an era where everything is geared to getting things fast. I seriously doubt that the addition of In&Out would hurt competition. When is the last time you saw a fast food restaurant go out of business???!!!
Jerry April 08, 2011 at 06:38 PM
I think THIS City Council will be very quick to approve a well thought In-N-Out Burger location.
Lou Judson April 08, 2011 at 06:50 PM
In my sort of humble opinion, I went to a Wedny's once and never wanted to go back. I think they went out of busines due to low quality. But I'm no judge - In N Out is the ONLY fast food place I will patronize. The rest taste to me like garbage, last time I tried any of them.
Edwin Drake April 08, 2011 at 08:18 PM
IF In-n-Out really does try to come to Novato, and IF the city council denies them permits ... then this will be the last straw that overturns the "ruling classes" here in NOvato. They approve a hideously large Whole Foods complex (Carol Dillon-Knudson "I didn't know it would be that big."); they spend $10 million on Grant Ave and then vote the SMART station to Atherton; they waste $5 million 'rebuilding' the old church; they upset everyone with their ham-handed approach to the affordable housing requirements; they drag their feet on the North Redwood plan; they have upset everyone, across all areas of the political divide; they are STILL fooling around with where to put a new City Hall; they act surprised by the economic downturn but claim only they have the experience to pull the city out of its deficit; they continue to increase the debt service the city must pay; the list goes on and on. Whatever happened to common sense and living in reality? The current council, especially, has blown almost every possible decision they've had to make. And they make the arrogant claim they're doing a good job, when they've done nothing special. I've seen no leadership, no vision, no big picture, no outreach. Let's hope In-n-Out comes to Novato. The council members may need jobs there.
Christine April 08, 2011 at 09:05 PM
The Novato Wendys closed it's doors for sanitary reasons. In & out Burgers will not make other fast foods close doors. Come on Fred...What do you have against IN & OUT Burgers? It would be a wonderful, healthier addition to Novato's fast food. Not everyone likes greasy burgers!
Lou Judson April 08, 2011 at 09:15 PM
Sanitary reasons? You mean they actually *were* selling garbage? (Sorry, half joking.) But if they closed instead of cleaning up, that speaks volumes. In&Out only has clean grease!
DonnaPullan April 08, 2011 at 09:33 PM
Jobs for teens, tax dollars for the city and decent burgers...I vote yes!
Lynn Gleason April 08, 2011 at 09:59 PM
Come on Fred, Wendys didnt close because of competition. They closed because of lousy food and unsanitary conditions. In & Out has a reputation for clean stores, friendly staff and good food. Whats so bad about that!
A. Jacob Sweeny April 08, 2011 at 11:34 PM
For those of you saying no no-it will close others- that is not a reason not to invite In & Out. The crappy fast food around here is aweful and in my 4 years living here I never once visited any of them. In & Out would help bring this town out of the stone age and will provide GOOD paying jobs, not to mention all the others who will stop by might shop at Novato. Competition is good for food service businesses. Makes the bad ones fall and the good ones stay.
Lisa Raymond April 08, 2011 at 11:40 PM
The Wendy's in Novato was a bad one. They messed up orders, burnt food and their food never tasted as good as other Wendy's restaurants...THAT'S why they closed. IN n OUT in Novato would be a nice treat and REDWOOD BLVD would be a much better location than Enfrente Road. REDWOOD would allow easier traffic flow, and has easy access from 101 and their sign could be seen from the highway. I really hope the city council can utilize some common sense and forward thinking. For reasons already stated in previous comments, I agree this would be a win win for In n Out and Novato.
Lou Judson April 09, 2011 at 01:37 AM
Thanks Lisa. We like the propsed location because it is close to us, and I think trvalers would stop and support it too. How would it be seen form the Freeway forom Redwood? And is there an available location on Redwood? It would be good for all is it replaced that oriental cafetaeria, and would be easy for locals and well as travelers, who could see it and tke the next exit from either direction! Doubt they will move out thjough. Just my thoughts... <L>
Kathleen April 09, 2011 at 01:53 AM
Where did this come from? My goodness there is enough stress in this world that we don't need comments like this. We can have fun and be hopeful. Stop being so cynical. Think positive. It is the only thing that is going to get us through this economy. Please take your comments elsewhere. This is a family community and a hopeful community. Stop putting people down.
Christine April 09, 2011 at 02:36 AM
Spill some more Fred....why quit now?
Lou Judson April 09, 2011 at 02:40 AM
Fred needs to be flagged as inappropriate... Talk about "Loosers" who cannot spell...
Edwin Drake April 09, 2011 at 04:39 AM
Kathleen - the most "positive" thing you can do is simply ignore the comments you don't like. Telling someone to be "positive" only adds energy to the discussion, and is truly a negative action itself. Pleae try to refrain from telling others how to act. Sticks and stones and all that ... People are allowed to speak. Don't be the arbiter of truth. None of us have the wisdom for that position.
Nick Mason April 09, 2011 at 06:01 AM
Fred, you are right about the ineptness of the city council. This city cannot hang a sign on a pole without sitting on their hands for a year and paying outside consultants tens of thousands of dollars. Did they say traffic study? Oh boy. But it has nothing to do with taking away business from other fast foods. Clearly, on that matter you are delusional. Trust me, McDonald's will continue to do just fine. Italian Delite too (best restaurant in Novato, as far as I'm concerned. This will be about traffic, more than anything else.
Ginny April 09, 2011 at 12:26 PM
I agree that Redwood would be a much better location. I also agree that getting rid of the Chinese place is a great idea.
janna nikkola April 10, 2011 at 12:11 AM
An N' Out Burger would be a welcome addition to Novato. It's the only burger I"ll eat and I sometimes drive north to Sonoma County to get one. I hope it works out for them to buy the property they'll looking at and that the City of Novato bureaucrats won't bog them down in red tape for a year getting the necessary permits.
Jen April 21, 2011 at 06:05 PM
Sheesh. I was pretty happy to hear the news about this ...until I started reading the thread. It's a GOOD burger joint. Period. I totally agree that the traffic could be a problem (and Enfrente Road is a dangerous nightmare enough as is), but can some posters above relax just a tad?? Besides, any new business is just that. Business for our town. It keeps prices in check when you have a little competition, draws in customers passing by our town (that perhaps may troll through again when in the area), gives us all a little bit more variety (that we sadly need for dining experiences in this town) and yes, it creates jobs. I'm smiling about this potential addition to our city, and you should be too. :)
Mower Militia April 29, 2011 at 03:19 AM
I agree! A GREAT addition. I do think it should go on the Northbound side of 101 though as most traffic heads that way around dinner time. Hopefully NOT in Vintage Oaks shopping center. How about that sweet corner at the 37/101 intersection? Hanna Ranch area! Access from all angles, within cycling range from Hamilton and Downtown too. Something is going in there, may as well put something cool. Plenty of parking too... I can imagine a hot summer night already with the views, sunset, burger n shake, and a classic car to roll down there in!


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