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.

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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