Creative director turns In-N-Out Burger mystery into food bank fundraiser

It's a not-so-secret menu for shirts that help the less fortunate.

NEW YORK: In-N-Out Burger’s marketing team isn’t taking advantage of the mysterious appearance of one of its burgers, normally only native to the West Coast, on a street in Jamaica, Queens, over the weekend. However, the creative director who made the discovery -- and, he repeats, does not work for In-N-Out Burger -- is leveraging the much-publicized spotting for good. 

Lincoln Boehm, associate creative director at Johannes Leonardo, is selling two shirts with a logo he designed that spells out "Ja-m-aica, Queens" in the style of In-N-Out Burger’s logo. He created a page on Shopify to sell the shirts with a pledge to donate all proceeds to the New York City Food Bank. 

"I just figured it’s rare to get this many eyes on something, so I might as well try to leverage it for good," Boehm said. "I thought using a double cheeseburger on the ground to raise money to feed hungry people had a nice sort of symbolism to it."

How did an In-N-Out Burger in mint condition wind up on a street not far from John F. Kennedy International Airport? It’s still a mystery. Boehm said he was "shaken to [his] core" when he saw the pristine burger on a Queens street because In-N-Out only operates locations in California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Texas and Oregon. After posting an image of the burger, wrapper and all, on his Instagram account, the mystery went viral and was covered by the New York Post and other media outlets.

While it looked like a stunt and smelled like a well-done stunt, the burger chain said it had nothing to do with the burger’s appearance, according to In-N-Out VP of operations Denny Warnick.

Boehm said that he did find one coincidence. "The idea [for the shirts] actually stemmed from me doing some illuminati-esque sniffing around trying to see if ‘Jamaica, Queens’ and ‘In-N-Out Burger’ have the same number of characters," he said, "which they do if you count the hyphens and comma – 15 characters each."

Boehm noted that he is not profiting from the shirts, just making the most out of an unusual occurrence. 

"I’m just trying to use a ridiculously absurd situation to raise money for a worthy cause," Boehm said.

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