Lynsi Torres, the 30-Year-Old Owner of In-N-Out

In-N-Out | Photo: apfriedman/Flickr/Creative Commons License

People have always loved two things: A good mystery, and celebrity gossip. So it only makes sense that when a famous person keeps to his or her own self and refuses to partake in the normal media enticements, an aura of allure and intrigue forms around them. More than their actual accomplishments, it's what makes authors like Thomas Pynchon and J.D. Salinger, or eccentrics like Bobby Fischer or Howard Hughes, as well known as they are: They're famous because they've tried to avoid fame.

The world of fast food has its own reclusive personality, and she is Lynsi Torres, the 30-year-old owner of beloved burger giant In-N-Out.

Sure, most owners and CEOs try to maintain a low profile behind their heavy iron gates and PR reps, but they'll pop their heads up every now and then to make a statement or throw a financial magazine an interview bone. But Torres is different. She's media-shy to the point where she will refuse any interview request. Which is what makes this new profile over at Bloomberg, naming her America's youngest female billionaire, so fascinating. There's so little information about her, that almost any info is news.

Among the most interesting tidbits from the profile:

- The intriguing ways that the In-N-Out ownership has been passed through the generations. Her grandparents Harry and Esther founded the chain back in 1948. After Harry's death in '76, ownership passed to Rich, who took over the company until his death in a '93 plane crash. Torres's father, Harry Guy, then took over, until his death in '99 from a prescription overdose. This led Esther to return from the shadows and take control until her death in 2006. Torres then took over the company as the sole remaining heir.

- Well, she sort of took over then. A family trust didn't really give her "control" control until this year, when she turned 30. Currently she has half-ownership, but will get full custody once she turns 35.

- As rich folks tend to do, she owns a $17.4 million dollar, 16,600 square-foot mansion in Bradbury, California. The house has 7 bedrooms, 16 bathrooms, a pool and a tennis court.

- Oh yeah, she also races cars. As in, she's a race car driver. Torres competes in National Hot Rod Association's Super Gas and Top Sportsman 7 categories which, frankly, I have no idea what that means. But the article goes on to say that she alternates between racing a 1970 Plymouth Barracuda and a 1984 Chevy Camaro. Which all, well, makes her kind of a badass.

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- Her last name, Torres, is from marriage. (Her husband, Val Torres, Jr., also races cars.)

- Also, her marriage to Torres is her third. She's only 30 years old, it should be once again pointed out.

- She funds a non-profit Christian-based organization Healing Hearts & Nations which, according to their website, "offers deep spiritual, mental, emotional and physical support to those living in misery, defeat, and hopelessness" in Africa and India.

- Maybe somewhat related, former In-N-Out vice president Richard Boyd sued Torres (then going by the last name of Martinez) because he felt he was fired for not being a "man of God" and refusing to participate in prayer meetings at Torres's home. An out-of-court settlement was reached.

Which is all to say, well, it certainly makes sense that Torres fronts a company known for their "secret menu."

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