Some Folks Don’t Know What the P Means in IHOP, Let Alone the I, H and O

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When IHOP introduced final week in a cryptic tweet it might change its title to IHOb, the restaurant chain aimed to attract consideration to the “thriller” of what the letter may stand for.

On Monday, it revealed the “b” is for burgers and the title change is non permanent, a part of a advertising ploy to launch a brand new menu. Alongside the way in which, the chain inadvertently revealed one thing else—that a lot of its prospects don’t even know what the P represents.

Actually.

Danny Meisel,

22, mentioned he thought IHOP—Worldwide Home of Pancakes, lest there be any confusion—may need one thing to do with “hopping off the bed” within the morning. “I simply go there for the waffles and pancakes,” mentioned Mr. Meisel, who works in a fitness center in Pittsburgh.

Michelle Oliver,

a customer support specialist for a cable-television firm, was having lunch at an IHOP close to Pittsburgh Thursday when she was requested in regards to the concept of adjusting the title to IHOb.

“I like IHOP,” she mentioned. “I’m used to that.”

Throughout the desk, her mom,

Renee Surgest,

seemed up from her lunch. “What does IHOP imply?” she requested. Neither lady knew.

Based in 1958 because the Worldwide Home of Pancakes, the chain in 1973 completely modified its brand to IHOP as a part of a advertising marketing campaign involving a kangaroo.

On Monday, the corporate mentioned the title change is restricted to IHOP’s flagship restaurant in Hollywood, Calif., the place the caddies that usually comprise pancake syrup can be full of mustard and ketchup.

Till final week,

Matt Layne,

a 20-year-old school pupil from Peoria, Unwell., had no concept what the letters meant—solely that IHOP serves pancakes and waffles. “I actually didn’t know what IHOP even stood for earlier than immediately,” he tweeted.

Mr. Layne later mentioned in an interview, “I simply by no means thought twice about it.”

Susie Shaft, who sings in church choirs in Grand Forks, N.D., is aware of IHOP is famous for pancakes and mentioned it was extremely popular in its earlier days, however has no concept what the initials imply. In any case, the novelty of pancake homes has worn off, Mrs. Shaft mentioned. “It’s sort of a restaurant of the previous.”

She texted a granddaughter, Francie Shaft, who graduated from highschool this spring. She didn’t know what IHOP meant both.

(Bonus query: Who owns IHOP/b? It’s Dine Manufacturers World Inc., whose shares rose on the information of the menu change.)

Some IHOP followers who do know its full title have quibbled with the “Worldwide” declare. Of its 1,786 eating places on the finish of final 12 months, solely 115 IHOPs are exterior the U.S. There are solely two “worldwide” pancakes on the menu: the Belgian Darkish Chocolate Mousse Pancakes and the Mexican Tres Leches Pancakes. The Rooty Tooty Recent ‘N Fruity is of unknown provenance. There may be French Toast, however pancake purists refuse to rely it. Likewise the French.

IHOP’s title gimmick and menu change comes amid rising competitors for purchasers. Household-dining chains have been shedding share to extra trendy eating places providing sooner service lately, and IHOP’s plan to attract in lunch friends with higher burgers isn’t assured. Extra individuals are consuming lunch at their desks, in the event that they eat lunch in any respect.

On Monday,

Wendy’s
Co.

, whose chain is understood for its snarky

Twitter

feed, tweeted, “Bear in mind once you had been like 7 and thought altering your title to Thunder BearSword can be tremendous cool? Like that, however our cheeseburgers are nonetheless higher.”

Rita Ruan,

a finance government who lives in Marietta, Ga., usually takes her 9-year-old son, Rylan, to IHOP. When requested what IHOP stood for, she mentioned, “I’m drawing a clean proper now.”

She thought the P may stand for pancakes, which is what her son at all times orders. Would she strive a hamburger at IHOP? “No,” she mentioned. “Once I take into consideration IHOP I consider it as a breakfast sort of place.”

IHOP President

Darren Rebelez

is betting on reformulated burgers and new cooking strategies. IHOP already had burgers on the menu, however its new “Final Steakburgers” can be made with black angus beef and served on brioche buns. Flipping the “P” to grow to be a “b,” he mentioned, reveals that “we’re taking the burgers as critically as we’re taking our pancakes.”

The restaurant generates greater than 50% of its gross sales at breakfast, 20% at lunch and the remainder at dinner and late at night time, whereas competing chains’ site visitors is extra evenly distributed throughout the day, in keeping with Mr. Rebelez. It selected burgers as an alternative of different conventional lunch gadgets after polling friends, who indicated they’d are available in if the chain might determine a option to make a tastier burger.

IHOP will now be competing not solely with the massive three quick meals burger gamers—

McDonald’s
Corp.

,

Restaurant Manufacturers Worldwide
Inc.’s

Burger King and Wendy’s—however with a glut of higher-end burger joints together with 5 Guys and

Smashburger
.

A spokesperson for IHOP mentioned total response to the announcement was as anticipated: “There are a lot of those that frankly, are relieved our pancakes aren’t going wherever…We knew there can be skeptics.”

Albert Tuttle,

a retired endodontist who lives close to Wilmington, N.C., was baffled by the corporate’s gimmick. “I feel it’s horrible,” he mentioned. “To me, it’s a breakfast place. It at all times has been, and in case you name it a burger place that simply modifications the complete perspective.”

One in every of Dr. Tuttle’s neighbors and buddies,

Dennis Fish,

a retired securities salesman, was extra open to the title change, as long as it’s non permanent. He thinks IHOP already makes good burgers, however he comes for the pancakes.

“Truthfully talking, once I go, even when it’s lunch, a variety of instances I’ll nonetheless have a breakfast factor or pancakes,” he mentioned.

Mr. Rebelez is aware of which facet his pancake is buttered on. The IHOP president mentioned prospects can order their burgers with a facet of pancakes, as an alternative of fries.

Write to Julie Jargon at julie.jargon@wsj.com and James R. Hagerty at bob.hagerty@wsj.com



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