Lynsi Torres: billionaire burger queen of U.S.

Forget reality TV stars, real money is made flipping burgers. At least that's the case for burger queen Lynsi Torres, who is the youngest female billionaire in America, even though few in the restaurant industry know much about her.

That might all change now that the 30-year-old president and owner of In-N-Out Burger is subject of a Bloomberg News report this week.

Torres, who reportedly has little formal management training and no college degree, inherited the fast-food empire through family ties. Her grandparents Harry and Esther Snyder started the chain from a single drive-through hamburger stand in Baldwin Park, California.

Now the company has something of a cult following with 280 restaurants in five states, making the chain worth some $1.1 billion and attracting the likes of billionaire investor Warren Buffett, according to Bloomberg.

Torres declined to comment in the Bloomberg article. Carl Van Fleet, the company’s vice president of planning and development, said the company's finances are private.

"In-N-Out Burger is a private company and this valuation of the company is nothing more than speculation based on estimates from people with no knowledge of In-N-Out’s financials, which are and always have been private,” Van Fleet told Bloomberg in an e-mailed statement.

Torres is one of almost 90 hidden billionaires discovered by Bloomberg since it began digging about very rich people when it debuted its Bloomberg Billionaires Index in the spring last year.

The Bloomberg ranking is based on the average price-to-earnings, enterprise value-to-sales and enterprise value-to-earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization multiples of five publicly traded peers: Yum! Brands Inc., Jack in the Box Inc., Wendy’s Co., Sonic Corp. and McDonald’s Corp.

Turns out Torres, like other female billionaires, tries to keep under the radar. Among them are Dirce Camargo, the richest woman in Brazil, and Elaine Marshall, the fourth-richest woman in America.

Her most visible presence has been on the drag strip competing in the National Hot Rod Association’s Super Gas and Top Sportsman Division 7 categories. Her third husband, Val Torres Jr., is also a race-car driver, according to the report.

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