A friend and I have wondered, nay, obsessed on this topic for many of years now. Why are the fries at In/Out so damn tasteless? The potential for greatness is right there, they slice them right in front of you fer chrissake! They should rule and dominate like none other.
We order them almost every time because of this. We go there fully determined to not order fries, but when we get to the counter, seeing the fresh-cut potatoes flying around everywhere and all totally undermines our will and somehow they end up on the tray once again.
And they suck once again. But I have figured it out. I'm sure I'm not the first one, but I've never seen or heard anyone posit this idea, so here goes.
Their oil is too damn clean. As a franchise they seem obsessed with cleanliness. But any old short order cook (me, for example) knows that pure clear clean oil produces subpar fried items. The oil has to darken up with whatever debris and detritus darkens it up before things start to taste right, much as a cast iron pan has to blacken up. Some places even hold back a quart or so of old oil to add to the new stuff when they change the oil out.
I'll bet that In/Out not only changes the oil every day but, like, steam cleans the fryers or something so the oil never has a chance to blacken up good. I'll stake my next paycheck on this.
Had to share this with thems that might care about suchlike.