Image: Audrey Tan for The Straits Times
A popular burger chain from America is in town again, and fans eager to get a taste of the succulent meat patties turned up in droves hours before the pop-up store even opened on Wednesday morning.
An advertisement in a local newspaper on Tuesday had said the In-N-Out Burger pop-up store would start selling their famous burgers from 11am till 3pm at Timbre@Gillman - a restaurant and nightlife venue near Labrador Park.
But as early at 7.30am, queues were already beginning to form. When The Straits Times visited the scene at 9am, there were about 50 people in the queue. The number swelled to almost 100 by 9.45am.
Red wristbands, which entitled each customer to buy one burger, were distributed at about 9.30am.
Representatives giving out the bands said they will be giving them out until stocks run out, and said they did not know how many burgers they had.
Even the hot weather could not dampen the spirits of hungry fans in the queue. Most were seen clad in T-shirts and shorts or jeans, with some holding umbrellas, and appeared to be students on holiday or working adults on their day off.
"I last tried the burger in San Francisco about four to five years ago, and I really enjoyed the fries there. I heard they might be serving set meals at $7, which might come with the home-cut fries," Ms Kris Lim, 32, who was the first in line, told The Straits Times. The business owner started queuing at 7.30am.
Customers were eager to get their hands on at least one of the three burger flavours on offer - Double-double (a burger with two beef patties), Animal-Style (a burger with ingredients such as a mustard cooked beef patty) and Protein-Style (a burger wrapped in lettuce instead of a bun).
A burger costs between $3 and $5, while set meals range from $5 to $7. These include a burger, chips and a drink.
Known for fresh, made-to-order burgers, the family-run chain is famous for setting up stores on the West Coast of the United States. It was started in 1965, with the first outlet popping out in Baldwin Park, California.
Wednesday's pop-up store is the second the burger chain has held in Singapore. In July 2012, a similar store was set up in Boat Quay with the aim of finding out if it would be a good idea to open an eatery here.
Back then, all 300 wristbands were snapped up within five minutes. Those who had been unsuccessful in getting their hands on the red wristbands were seen offering up to $50 to other patrons just to get the chance to buy a burger.
Fans hoping to see the chain set up a permanent shop here may be disappointed. In an e-mail reply to The Straits Times on Wednesday, a spokesman said the chain does not have any immediate plans to open permanent restaurants in Singapore but "these special events will help us make future decisions".
This article was first run in The Straits Times newspaper on November 12, 2014. For similar stories, go to http://www.straitstimes.com/premium/singapore. You will not be able to access the Premium section of The Straits Times website unless you are already a subscriber.