IHOP just ramped up its growth plans with a new franchise deal. The pancake chain announced October 30 a new partnership with TravelCenters of America.
The new IHOP restaurants in the travel centers will be operated by the TA Restaurant Group, a division of TravelCenters of America. The deal will allow the two companies to develop and open 94 IHOP restaurants over the next five years in TravelCenters and Petro locations throughout the U.S. It marks the single largest IHOP development deal in the brand’s 61-year history, the company said in a statement.
“The TA brand, a trusted hospitality leader in the industry and with consumers, shares the same values as IHOP when it comes to delivering an outstanding experience to guests on the go,” Jay Johns, president of IHOP, said in a statement. “We’re looking forward to serving the great-tasting, freshly made menu items we’re known for at breakfast, lunch, and dinner to the millions of guests who stop at TA and Petro locations each year.”
“An important part of our restaurant strategy is focusing on growing our partnerships with trusted brands like IHOP that appeal to broader audiences, and today’s agreement will enable us to accelerate that process,” Barry Richards, president and chief operating officer of TravelCenters of America, added in a statement.
With more than 1,700 locations in the U.S. and 100-plus around the world, IHOP earned the title of America’s largest casual-dining chain earlier this year. Dine Brand’s chief executive Steve Joyce attributes the brand’s new growth opportunities to the company’s business model. While other brands are scaling back growth, IHOP is focusing on expanding, along with expansion of off-premises, enhanced guest experience, and menu innovation, as a key part of its strategy to stay competitive.
The third quarter of 2019 marked IHOP’s seventh consecutive quarter of positive sales growth. Same-store sales slightly lifted 0.03 percent during the quarter. However, for the first nine months of 2019 that figure increased 1.1 percent.
IHOP’s existing presence in TravelCenters is small, with only four restaurants open. By expanding its footprint in the travel segment, the brand will be exposed to the high foot traffic of travelers. Everyone from professional drivers to families on a road trip will be able to stop in and take a break from their travels on the interstate. Guests will be able to order from IHOP’s full menu, including made-to-order pancakes, omelettes, waffles, and steakburgers, at the new locations.
“When it comes to serving our customers, IHOP and TA’s missions and cultures align,” Richards said. “Adding such a highly regarded brand like IHOP to our restaurant group shows our commitment to bringing the best possible dining options to both professional drivers while they’re away from home and to local families living in the communities we serve.”