IHOP franchisees and vendor partners were recently awarded top honors by the brand for their work to deliver great food and service to guests along with providing care to their communities. In front of an audience of their peers from around the world, honorees were recognized for their leadership, operational excellence and service. The awards ceremony was held at the Wailea Beach Resort – Marriot, Maui, in Maui, Hawaii as part of the global restaurant chain's annual conference, a fitting location given the brand started in 1958 after its founders becoming inspired by a trip to the Aloha State.
"It is always inspiring to see our franchisees go above and beyond to serve our guests in the restaurant and their local communities," says Darren Rebelez, president, IHOP restaurants. "This year's conference was particularly special as we celebrated 60 years of pancakin' and the more than 300 franchisees who have made IHOP the incredible brand it is today. Our franchisees and teams have earned outstanding achievements in the past year across a multitude of categories that include guest service, operations and sales as well as made significant contributions to family-centric charities."
Major award winners included:
Franchisee of the Year – Mohamed Al-Sad – Owning and operating nine restaurants in Denver and Houston, Mohamed Al-Sad has been a franchisee for more than a decade and was named the 2018 "IHOP Franchisee of the Year." Al-Sad started off as a dishwasher at IHOP and rose through the ranks eventually owning multiple restaurants. Because of his humble beginnings in the system, he is known for putting people first from his guests to his team members. Al-Sad is invested in the future of the brand, oftentimes offering up his restaurants for market and menu tests. He is not only a valued and well-respected operator in the system but a good community steward participating in local charity events like the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in Houston and the Chevron Houston Marathon.
International Franchisee of the Year – Humberto Robira – The 2018 "IHOP International Franchisee of Year" award recognizes the international franchisee that has made consistent contributions and efforts to execute and build the IHOP brand on an international level. Humberto Robira is sharing the IHOP brand in Puerto Rico. Despite facing one of the worst natural disasters in recent U.S. history, Robira and his team always put the guest first. His restaurants provided the community in Puerto Rico food, water and refuge. Additionally, his restaurants sustained damage due to Hurricane Maria in 2017 but he and his team were able to repair all their locations by the end of the year. Within weeks of finishing up repairs, Robira and his team celebrated National Pancake Day breaking their own record and raising money for their local children's hospital.
Supplier Partner of the Year – J&B Group – This year's "Supplier Partner of the Year" was instrumental in the success of the IHOb burger campaign. J&B Group is a family owned and operated cold supply chain that distributes, manufactures and produces protein products. Under tight deadlines, J&B Group not only commercialized and tested the product, but the group invested capital and increased production to support the demand that resulted from the IHOb burger campaign. The group helped to create a burger that truly stands out from the competition.
Heart of IHOP Award – Adenah Bayoh – The 2018 "Heart of IHOP" Award recognizes the system's franchisee who has demonstrated the greatest amount of love, compassion and care for members of their local communities and embodied the brand's promise. It was compassion that led Adenah Bayoh to become a franchisee because she wanted her community in Irvington, N.J., to have a place like IHOP to create memories. Bayoh came to the United States from Liberia at 13 years old as a refugee; she overcame many obstacles to own her first IHOP at just 27 years old. As part of her outreach, she runs a free daily breakfast program for children under 12 and hosts breakfast for dinners for needy families during the holidays. Bayoh also allows local non-profit organizations to hold charitable events at her IHOP locations. She is a respected operator who strives to be an inspiration to young girls in her community.
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