IHOP Restaurants is the latest full-service brand to launch carryout nationwide. On Thursday, the casual breakfast chain announced that it is expanding its IHOP ‘N GO platform to create convenient take out options for guests across the country. The platform includes online ordering on the brand’s website and will be followed by a mobile app by the end of 2017.
Additionally, IHOP announced that it will begin testing home delivery in partnership with service providers, such as DoorDash and Amazon. The program will first launch in select markets in California, Texas, Oklahoma, Washington, and Utah.
"More and more guests are telling us they want to enjoy the distinctive, freshly-prepared menu items they love at IHOP, but outside of our restaurants and without having to give up the quality they expect from us," said Darren Rebelez, president at IHOP, in the press release. "So, we looked at every aspect of our IHOP 'N GO business and focused on creating an exceptional guest experience from start to finish … As we get ready to celebrate our 60th anniversary in 2018, our expanded and enhanced to-go offering is just one of the many ways we're looking to best meet the ever-changing needs of our guests."
These initiatives follow almost a year of limited testing, during which the brand also launched 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.
IHOP also introduced its Meals to Go Specialist Certification program to train store employees on all aspects of the carryout program. This will ensure that all locations have at least one team member certified to ensure quality standards from plating to guest service.
To attract consumers to these new services, IHOP is offering guests $5 off their first online orders of $25 or more on the company’s website.
Following the third quarter earnings report from DineEquity, the parent company of IHOP and Applebee’s, stocks have been volatile. Prices soared after the brand adjusted guidance to account for better-than-expected performance, though Applebee’s same-store sales declined by 7.7 percent for the quarter and IHOP’s fell by 3.2 percent. DineEquity also announced plans to shutter 25-30 stores, up from previous projections for 20-25 closures.
With increasing consumer demand for to-go, delivery, and online ordering options industry wide, perhaps these new initiatives can bolster IHOP and DineEquity’s financial situation.