Why Doesn’t Utah Have A Jack In The Box?

Why Doesn't Utah Have A Jack-In-The-Box?

Whenever you are craving a quick fix, Jack-In-The-Box is always to the rescue – very much so, if you live in the West coast of the United States.

However, if you did not know this before, Utah does not really have a lot of Jack-In-The-Box locations. By that, we mean that Utah has only THREE Jack-In-The-Box locations. 

If you are a traveler passing through Utah, looking for a quick drive-thru snack from Jack-In-The-Box in Utah, you will have tough luck finding one, especially if you are in the northern part of the state.

This can be seemingly frustrating for someone new to Utah, however, Jack-In-The-Box is not a very popular fast-service restaurant amongst local Utahns, unlike McDonald’s, Taco Bell, Subway, etc.

This brings up the question: Why doesn’t Utah have ‘enough’ Jack-In-The-Box franchises? In the specifics of this post, we shall give you an answer to this one brain-wracking question alongside a lot more.

Does Utah really have no Jack-In-The-Box Location?

This is not entirely true. The fact that Utah has only THREE (emphasis on ‘three’) Jack-In-The-Box locations makes people (not local Utahns) think that there are no Jack-In-The-Box locations in Utah, at all. 

More so, because these three locations are far away from each other. 

The point here is that Utah does have Jack-In-The-Box; just not a lot of them like most other states in the U.S. do.

Now, let’s get to why you really are here… why doesn’t Utah have enough Jack-In-The-Box locations?

Why Are There So Few Jack-In-The-Box Restaurants in Utah?

Utah has very few (only three) Jack-In-The-Box restaurants because of the two controversies that surrounded the company in the 20th century. The meat controversy in 1981 and e.Coli outbreak in 1993 led to Utah having no Jack-In-The-Box at all, in the 20th century.

If you are a traveler, you may think that Utah does not house enough Jack-In-The-Box restaurants purely because it is not very popular in the state. However, this was not always the case.

If you are a local Utahn, who has lived for a long time in Utah, you probably know what we are talking about. All in all, there are pretty legitimate reasons why you can not see one too many Jack-In-The-Box restaurants in Utah (not anymore, at least). 

Below we have explained them in detail.

So… water your curiosity!

Controversy 1: The Kangaroo and Horse Meat Controversy in 1981

Why Doesn't Utah Have A Jack In The Box

Photo by Kyle Mackie on Unsplash

Founded in 1950, Jack-In-The-Box gained traction and popularity very quickly in the Western U.S. However, a ‘packaging and labeling’ controversy in 1981 seriously eroded the company’s reputation. 

What was the controversy really about? 

A meat processing plant in San Diego, California, was reported to contain shipments that were meant for Jack-In-The-Box restaurants. These shipments found in the food processing plant in California allegedly contained horse meat and kangaroo meat, mislabeled as pork and beef.

According to the officials from the Department of Agriculture, these shipments were shipped from an Australian food processing plant in Profreeze of Richmond, Victoria.

According to John McClung, the spokesman for the Department of Agriculture, all the shipments from Profreeze contained some amount of horse meat along with unprocessed boneless beef, patties, and ground meat.

Upon further analysis, it was found that the shipments bound for Jack-In-The-Box also contained kangaroo meat.

This packaging controversy led to a serious decline in Jack-In-The-Box’s business as franchises started to close their doors on Jack-In-The-Box.

Although the spokesman for Jack-In-The-Box had a pretty lucid explanation on their behalf, i.e., the mislabeled meat never really reached any of the Jack-In-The-Box franchise, people found it hard to believe the business. 

A huge segment of fast-food consumers believed that Jack-In-The-Box was using horse meat and kangaroo meat as alternatives to beef and pork to lower their operational costs. They had more reason to believe so since kangaroo and horse meat was cheaper.

You may think that a mislabeled meat packaging scandal should not put that big a dent in the company’s reputation since kangaroo and horse meat are readily eaten in other parts of the world.

However, a huge segment of Americans prefers to eat popular and well-known kinds of meat such as beef, chicken, and pork. 

The ‘apparent’ deception on the company’s end crippled the faith of the consumers in Jack-In-The-Box. This severely stunted the company’s growth too.

Though, that is not it. Jack-In-The-Box, with strategized marketing efforts, rose to fame again and their business started to grow. However, yet another scandal, almost a decade later, put the final nail in the coffin, bankrupting almost every other Utah (as well as in other states) Jack in Box outlet.

Controversy 2: The E. Coli Food Poisoning Outbreak in 1993

With ample marketing efforts, Jack-In-The-Box started to earn back its lost reputation again. However, a decade later, in 1993, another tragedy struck Jack-In-The-Box all across America.

This time, the scandal revolved around a food poisoning outbreak owing to the e.coli virus. To explain in detail, a total of 623 individuals were diagnosed with e.coli that was allegedly caused by undercooked meat in the Jack-In-The-Box burger patties. 

The undercooked burger patties of Jack-In-The-Box that led to the e.coli outbreak resulted in the death of four children which devastated the company’s reputation. 

This led to outlets of Jack-In-The-Box shutting down rapidly across the country, leading to a crippling financial status of the company. As customers’ faith shattered in the company, franchises began to refuse Jack-In-The-Box from occupying their outlets for business.

Multiple locals in Utah claim that the food poisoning outbreak was one of the major reasons why there are so few Jack-In-The-Box restaurants in Utah. Although most states recovered from the tragedy, it seems like Utah never got very welcoming about introducing Jack-In-The-Box outlets again.

Why Does Utah Specifically Have So Few Jack-In-The Box?

The main reason why Utah does not have many Jack-In-The-Box restaurants is that, at the time of the outbreak, Washington state law had strictly mandated that all hamburgers (be it from any food outlet) must be cooked to an internal temperature of at least 68 degrees Celcius or 155 degrees Fahrenheit.

However, at the same time, FDA’s temperature requirement for cooking hamburgers and other meat (to kill e.coli) was only 140 degrees Fahrenheit or 60 celsius.

Although Jack-In-The-Box was complying with the FDA’s regulations, it did not comply with Washington state laws at the same time. This led to a severe decline in the company’s business in Utah, more so in Washington, which seems to be prevalent to this date.

Where Are The Jack-In-The-Box Restaurants Located In Utah?

Jack-In-The-Box is currently available in three locations in Utah: Cedar City, Saint George, and Washington.

The Jack-In-The-Box located in Cedar City is at the following destination: 1313 S Providence, Center Dr, Cedar City, UT 84720. The active operation hours of this Jack-In-The-Box outlet are 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

The Jack-In-The-Box located in Saint George is at the following destination: 1596 S Convention Center Dr, Saint George, UT 84790. The active operation hours of this Jack-In-The-Box outlet are 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

The Jack-In-The-Box located in Washington is destined at 775 W Telegraph St. Washington, UT 84780. The active operation hours of this Jack-In-The-Box outlet are 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Here is a brief overview of the locations featuring Jack-In-The-Box in Utah:

Outlet Location  Address Working Hours Contact Information
Cedar City 1313 S Providence Center Dr Cedar City, UT 84720 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. (435) 586-7132
Saint George 1596 S Convention Center Dr, Saint George, UT 84790
7:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
(435) 986-0284
Washington 775 W Telegraph St. Washington, UT 84780  8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. (435) 656-4450

All three locations are in Southern Utah, located within 45 minutes of distance by a road vehicle. For those who live in the northern part of Utah, the best solution to get their quick fix is to drive to any Jack-In-The-Box location in either Nevada or Idaho.

Traveling all the way to Southern Utah for a classic Jack-In-The-Box burger does not seem worth the effort (at least to us).

Will There Be More Jack-In-The-Box Restaurants In Utah?

The young generation of Utahns seems to be more accepting to opening more Jack-In-The-Box locations in Utah. There have been small (not very responsive) petitions that were started to open Jack-In-The-Box locations in Utah, more specifically in the northern state, such as Provo Orem and Salt Lake.

Potential Areas In Utah Where Jack-In-The-Box Could Be Set Up In Future

As of now, Jack-In-The-Box (as per its franchising website) states that the company sees a growth opportunity in the following areas of Utah for the following reasons:

  1. Ogden-Clearfield Metro Area: Ogden-Clearfield has a unique population as well as a strong economy. For anyone looking to open a Jack-In-The-Box franchise in this area can contact Jack-In-The-Box Franchising for further details.
  2. Provo-Orem Metro Area: This area is poised for success due to its strong economy and good population. This is why there are chances of Jack-In-The-Box coming to Utah in this location.
  3. Salt Lake City Metro Area: This area of northern Utah is one of the most potent areas to drive revenue to a Jack-In-The-Box franchise. There have been multiple petitions asking for a Jack-In-The-Box location in Salt Lake City Metro Area. 

The company sees a great opportunity here because it is a thriving city. It is brimming with college campuses, recreation centers, business hubs, and tourist destinations. Since Salt Lake is an education center and major business hub, it is possible there will be a Jack-In-The-Box location in Salt Lake soon enough.

Summing Up

Overall, there are very few Jack-In-The-Box restaurants in Utah because of the controversies that surround the food-service chain. The horse and kangaroo meat scandal in 1983 and the e.coli outbreak in 1993 led the company to face a huge corporate crisis, especially in Utah. 

Although it seems like a distant past now, a number of Utahns believe that the state is doing just fine with three Jack-In-The-Box restaurants and it does not need any more of those food outlets. However, the younger generation believes otherwise. Regardless, it seems like there will be more Jack-In-The-Box outlets in Utah in the coming future.

Swati Jaiswal

Swati Jaiswal is a dedicated traveler and an even dedicated individual who specializes in travel, digital marketing, & health and fitness niches. Passport stamps and coffee stains are her badges of honor.

View all posts by Swati Jaiswal →

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *