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IHOP
The Big IHOP Pancake Burger, which features a pancake and a burger, together.

IHOP is Calling its New Burgers 'Pancakes'

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The three new options are pancakes. But they're really burgers.
By Danny Klein June 2019 Chain Restaurants

On May 28, IHOP teased another name change. But this time, the “P” wasn’t flipping upside down. It wasn’t even changing for that matter. IHOP posted a video of its now-famed IHOb logo and let the “b” turn back to normal, leaving people guessing across the Internet. Could it be pizza? Pasta? Peanuts?

Turns out, it’s pancakes. Yet it’s burgers. Yes, it’s a bit confusing.

“It told IHOP to stay in their lane,” the chain said in a Monday release of last year’s campaign. “To stick to pancakes. So, this year, IHOP is taking the Internet’s advice by calling their new Steakburgers ‘Pancakes.’”

IHOP launched three new burgers Monday—the Big IHOP Pancake Burger, Garlic Butter Steakburger, and Loaded Philly Steakburger.

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Basically, IHOP is just calling the burgers “pancakes” in homage to last year’s IHOb buzz. Although it’s worth noting the Big IHOP Pancake Burger does have a pancake griddled with Cheddar cheese layered between two steakburger patties. It’s then topped with American cheese, cured hickory-smoked back, and house-made IHOP sauce. And for a limited time, the chain is selling all pancakes (steakburgers) with unlimited fries, starting at $6.99.

“That’s right, IHOP is following up on last year’s successful Ultimate Steakburger launch with a playful twist that again shows that it takes its burgers as seriously as it takes it pancakes,” the company said.

“That was hard for a lot of people to accept since they’d always known IHOP primarily as the breakfast and pancake place, so they took to social media to tell us—often in no uncertain terms—to stay in our lane and stick to pancakes,” chief marketing officer Brad Haley said in a statement. “But we made our all-natural, 100 percent USDA Choice, Black Angus beef Steakburgers good enough to stand up to the best burgers out there and we sold a lot of them: initially four times what we sold before, and they are still selling double what we sold before.”

“So, we’re listening to the Internet this year by calling our new Steakburgers ‘Pancakes,’” he added. “And, so many people asked us why we didn’t have a pancake burger last year that we’ve even added a ‘Pancake’ with a pancake in it: The Big IHOP Pancake  … Burger.”

Additionally, IHOP said it’s creating a digital experience “to get reluctant burger lovers onboard with their new approach.”

There were more than 3.3 million tweets about the IHOb campaign last year, “and some of them weren’t very nice,” Haley said.

“So, our lead creative agency, Droga5, created a digital experience to engage last year’s naysayers and convert haters into eaters,” he said. “Those who tweeted something, shall we say, unkind last year may find that they’re on ‘The Bancake List,’ an aggregated list of Twitter users who tweeted at IHOP to stay in its lane.”

IHOP will take people off this “Bancake List” if they tweet something nice about IHOP’s new burgers. It’s providing options for guests to choose from if they don’t want to create their own. Some will be rewarded with a “token of the brand’s appreciation,” Haley said.

A list of names can be found online on a special site IHOP created.

The new Steakburger lineup joins IHOP’s original burger flavors, including The Classic, The Classic with Bacon, Mega Monster, Cowboy BBQ, The Big Brunch and Jalapeno Kick.

Here’s a look at the other two new creations:

  • Garlic Butter Pancake (Steakburger): Topped with savory house-made Gilroy garlic butter, custom-cured hickory-smoked bacon, White Cheddar cheese, fresh lettuce, tomato, onion, and mayo.
  • Loaded Philly Pancake (Steakburger): Piled with sautéed onions and peppers and smothered with melted White Cheddar cheese and Cheddar cheese sauce.

IHOP’s same-store sales have steadily climbed over the past year. The past quarter marked five straight quarters of gains.

  • Q1 2019: 1.2 percent
  • Q4 2018: 3 percent
  • Q3 2018: 1.2 percent
  • Q2 2018: 0.7 percent