The number of businesses fleeing California is growing with the departure of In-N-Out Burger, the iconic West Coast brand, from its sole location in Oakland.
The franchise announced its decision on Monday, according to the Daily Caller, citing “ongoing issues with crime” in the vicinity, said In-N-Out Chief Operating Officer Denny Warnick.
“Despite taking repeated steps to create safer conditions, our Customers and Associates are regularly victimized by car break-ins, property damage, theft, and armed robberies,” Warnick said. “Our last day of business in Oakland will be Sunday, March 24, 2024.”
A sad fact of the closing was that the Oakland location remained profitable, representing a bottom-line loss for In-N-Out Burger as well.
“This location remains a busy and profitable one for the company, but our top priority must be the safety and wellbeing of our Customers and Associates – we cannot ask them to visit or work in an unsafe environment,” Warnick said in the statement.
Employees affected by the decision will be given the opportunity to transfer to another location, which means fighting traffic to Alameda in the north or south to San Lorenzo. Those who decline will be given a severance package, Warnick added.
“We are grateful for the local community, which has supported us for over 18 years, and we recognize that this closure negatively impacts our Associates and their families,” Warnick wrote.
Rising crime has gripped California and led to the recall of Alameda County District Attorney Pamela Price, a progressive who promised to reduce prosecutions for some offenders. Oakland residents, more than one in five of whom are Black, angrily demanded at the time that they were more interested in public safety than $3 trillion in reparations as Governor Gavin Newsom had promised to explore.
Oakland is at the center of a “doom loop” which economists have coined to describe the lingering downtown effects caused by the pandemic, including the shuttering of businesses that never recovered following lockdowns and the loss of foot traffic by white-collar employees who eschewed the office for a work from home schedule. In September, more than 200 business owners across Oakland participated in a one-day strike to protest the failure by authorities to stem the growing crime crisis, CBS News reported.
“People get robbed at all these businesses all around Oakland,” said Yemeni Association President Ahmed Dobashi. “If you looked at Richmond, there is nothing like that! It’s only Oakland! If there is something wrong in Oakland, they need to fix it, because it’s really bad.”
“Without basic safety, there is no business,” said Vietnamese Chamber of Commerce leader Dr. Jennifer Tran. “Without basic safety, there is no community. Without safety, there is no city. Without basic safety, there is only chaos.”