Flip’d by IHOP, the breakfast chain’s entrance into the fast-casual segment, is set to debut Tuesday, September 21, more than 20 months after plans were first revealed.
The first location will come in Lawrence, Kansas, featuring 3,500 square feet and 55 seats. IHOP told analysts in August that the next location will open in New York City later this year with 1,800 square feet and 25 seats. More units are planned for 2022, but the company did not reveal which markets.
Flip’d will serve made-to-order, on-the-go breakfast, lunch, and dinner that can be ordered either through a digital kiosk, at the counter, or via online for takeout or delivery. The menu includes signature pancake bowls, a build-your-own pancake bar, egg combos, egg sandwiches, made-to-order burritos and bowls, chicken and steak sandwiches, salads, wraps, baked goods, orange juice, signature coffee brews, and espresso beverages.
IHOP first announced Flip’d in December 2019, with the first site supposedly opening in Atlanta during the following spring. The casual-dining chain also wanted to open stores in several metropolitan markets, like New York City, Washington, D.C., Denver, and San Francisco. However, the COVID pandemic hit the U.S. three months after the announcement, and opening plans were scrapped. It wasn’t until March that IHOP President Jay Johns announced that plans for Flip’d were back on. In May, the strategy was to open in New York City during the summer, with additional sites being explored for Lawrence and Columbus, Ohio. Then in August, IHOP revealed that it had changed course and moved Lawrence to the forefront.
“Since we originally announced flip’d in 2019, a lot has changed. We wanted to ensure that we were evolving the concept to meet our guests’ needs,” Johns said in May. “While we know there is a pent-up demand for a return to dining in restaurants, we anticipate that our delivery and takeout business is here to stay as consumer needs continue to shift and they seek out different ways to experience IHOP favorites. With flip’d, we can provide that on-the-go fast casual experience, making now the perfect time to bring this concept into the world.”
The breakfast brand joins a growing list of full-service chains that’ve turned to fast-casual offshoots as a form of growth. In 2017, Hooters opened Hoots Wings, a quick-service concept selling wings that can be covered in more than a dozen sauces and rubs. The company, which has grown to nine units, is in the midst of an aggressive franchising strategy, including a 60-store deal in Texas and 16-store agreement in the Greater Philadelphia area. Additionally, P.F. Chang’s debuted a to-go outlet in 2020, which has expanded to New York City, Chicago, Texas, and Florida. The chain plans to have more than 50 P.F. Chang’s To Go locations in the future. Buffalo Wild Wings entered the fast casual space in in 2020, as well, with Buffalo Wild Wings Go. The store in Atlanta has 1,800 square feet, with a walk-up counter, digital menu boards, and a small seating area with TVs.