Fittingly, the new campaign launched alongside “All You Can Eat Pancakes” for $3.99. The “Pancakes, Pancakes, Pancakes,” series promises to be playful, quirky, and a bit outside the comfort zone for IHOP, which is exactly what Haley believes the chain needs.
“It is different,” Haley says. “It needed to be.”
As for what the next iteration looks like, Haley says, people will have to wait and see. However, regardless of whatever the exact changes and future promotions might be, they will celebrate an IHOP that is rapidly evolving while, at the same time, remaining true to its core—breakfast, family, and friendly service.
In the third quarter, IHOP posted same-store sales declines of 3.2 percent. But this came as multiple initiatives were being stretched out across the system. To start, IHOP’s franchisees remodeled 92 restaurants in the third quarter as part of an ongoing process that IHOP president Darren Rebelez said was on track to hit 300 stores for the second consecutive year in 2017.
A major area of growth for IHOP has taken form in the off-premises world. Haley says IHOP methodically developed the proper infrastructure—mainly packaging—before unveiling its to-go platform nationwide in mid-November. To-go comp sales growth was 8.3 percent in the third quarter compared to 7.1 percent the prior year, showing just how lengthy the runway really is.
The IHOP ‘N GO platform includes online ordering, a mobile app, and delivery in some markets. Haley says IHOP tested for almost a year, and introduced new packaging designed to support the needs of its Buttermilk Pancakes, along with other breakfast offerings, for guest carryout. The modular packaging provides ventilation to keep food warm while minimizing moisture, as well as section snaps and a specially designed box shape that keeps food safe during transport. In other terms, items like hash browns and sausages can be kept in one compartment, while pancakes are properly stored in another.