Lynsi Torres: America's Youngest Female Billionaire Owns In-n-Out Burgers

Tuesday, 05 Feb 2013 09:59 AM

By Dale Eisinger

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Lynsi Torres, president and owner of the In-N-Out fast food chain, has recently become the youngest woman billionaire in the United States and one of the wealthiest in the world, according to Bloomberg.

Torres, who lives outside the spotlight cast upon many billionaires, inherited In-N-Out from her family.

Torres' grandfather Harry passed the company — now valued at $1.1 billion — to his son Rich when he died in 1976. Rich died in a 1993 plane crash, and his brother Guy took over the company. Guy died of a of a prescription drug overdose in 1999.

Torres’s grandmother Esther Harry’s widow – became president of the company when her two sons passed away, until her death in 2006 at age 86. When she died, Torres was the sole family heir.

Torres inherited the company that year, when she was just 23, thrusting her into the ranks of the world's wealthiest women.

Few in the restaurant industry have met the wealthy executive, and little is known about her.

What is known is she has no college degree or formal management training. The mother of twins has been married three times. She is active in car-racing circuits, a passion she shared with her late father. In fact, she inherited more than 27 cars.

Torres and her family are religious, and like Chick-fil-A's Dan Cathy, the owners infuse their personal beliefs into the business.

In-N-Out is known for printing clandestine bible verses on their soft drink cups and hamburger wrappers.

Torres is also the CFO of a non-profit in Africa, Healing Hearts and Nations, which preaches her Christian values.

In a 2006 complaint filed against the company, a former In-N-Out executive claimed Torres tried to remove him because he was not a "man of good." The case eventually settled out of court, according to the Washington Post.

Analysts say In-N-Out has stayed successful by not straying too far from their original patty factories, keeping quality control high. The company won't open a store that is more than a day's drive from one of its two hamburger patty factories.

It wasn't until recently that the chain expanded to Texas, at which point they added a second patty factory. The level of service, simple menu, and high-quality ingredients also contribute to the restaurant's rabid fan base.

Torres is one of several "secret billionaires" to be profiled recently by Bloomberg. But an In-N-Out spokesman says the valuation of the company is not substantiated.

“In-N-Out Burger is a private company and this valuation of the company is nothing more than speculation based on estimates from people with no knowledge of In-N-Out’s financials, which are and always have been private,” Carl Van Fleet, the vice president of planning and development for In-N-Out, told Bloomberg News in an emailed statement.

In 2012, Cathy and his brother Donald, were revealed to be some of the wealthiest in the fast-food industry as well. Chick-fil-A is valued at $4.5 billion.

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