‘Florida is for winners:’ State CFO urges In-N-Out Burger to open in the Sunshine State

Report: West Coast burger chain in fight over vaccine mandates

The sign to an In-N-Out restaurant is shown in San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf, Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021. The In-N-Out hamburger chain is sizzling mad after San Francisco shut down its indoor dining for refusing to check customers' vaccination status. The company's Fisherman's Wharf location, its only one in San Francisco, was temporarily shut by the Department of Public Health on Oct. 14. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu) (Jeff Chiu, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Florida’s Chief Financial Officer, Jimmy Patronis, is making the pitch for the Sunshine State to one of California’s most iconic restaurant chains, In-N-Out Burger.

The move comes as the fast-food chain has been butting heads with health officials in Northern California over local vaccination mandates. One location in San Francisco had its dining room shutdown for refusing to check customers’ vaccination status, according to CBS News.

“We refuse to become the vaccination police for any government,” Arnie Wensinger, the chain’s chief legal and business officer, said in a statement reported by CBS News.

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In his letter to In-N-Out Burger President Lunsi Snyder, Patronis appealed to her as a fellow business owner.

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“I’m writing you today not only as Florida’s Chief Financial Officer, but as a small business owner who grew up in a family-owned restaurant and worked there for more than 30 years. I know how hard it is to turn a profit and make payroll on a good day, let alone when your own government is working to crush your business with absurd mandates. Once I heard the news of your shutdown for refusing to act as “vaccine police,” I knew I had to reach out immediately,” the letter reads.

In the letter, Patronis extolled the virtues of Florida’s business environment while disparaging California leadership.

“The business climate here is perfect, with no personal income tax, low corporate taxes, an educated workforce and a fantastic quality of life. We won’t chase you out of the state like California State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez did to Elon Musk when she launched vulgarities at him on Twitter. How did that work out? He immediately moved Tesla headquarters to Texas. I just wish he would’ve moved a little farther east!”

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Patronis said he could help Snyder “start a new In-N-Out story right here in Florida,” adding that his personal motto is “Florida is for Winners (sic).”

News 6 has reached out to Patronis to see if Snyder had responded to his letter. This story will be updated if the CFO responds.

Read his full letter to Snyder below:


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About the Author:

Thomas Mates is a digital storyteller for News 6 and ClickOrlando.com. He also produces the podcast Florida Foodie. Thomas is originally from Northeastern Pennsylvania and worked in Portland, Oregon before moving to Central Florida in August 2018. He graduated from Temple University with a degree in Journalism in 2010.