IHOP's latest plan to win the breakfast war

Valentina Caval

IHOP is serving up something new. It's called Flip'd. The fast, casual concept location will open in Atlanta in April. The store will have a build-your-own pancake bar along with menu items, like egg sandwiches, and buttermilk crispy chicken sandwiches, and to-go salads. The company is exploring expanding to New York, Washington, D.C., Denver, Chicago and San Francisco.

“The idea of Flip'd is it's for people in heavily densely populated areas, where they're a little more on the go,” Jay Johns, president of IHOP, told Yahoo Finance’s On the Move. “They need things fast—we’re going to provide that for them, so those pancakes, we'll pull them hot off the griddle.”

Florida, Gainesville, IHOP, International House Pancakes, plate of pancakes. (Photo by: Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
Florida, Gainesville, IHOP, International House Pancakes, plate of pancakes. (Photo by: Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Flip’d locations are designed for people to just drop in, pick up their food and go. These restaurants will be about half the size of a traditional IHOP and they will not have a wait staff to take orders. The menu features IHOP favorites and new additions. For example, IHOP’s buttermilk pancakes are available in Pancake Bowls, which allows costumers to add toppings to their meal. This comes at a competitive time for breakfast. Wendy’s (WEN) recently announced that it will serve breakfast around the country next year. Dunkin’ (DNKN) partnered with Beyond Meat (BYND) on a new breakfast sandwich and McDonald’s (MCD) continues to be a big player in the space.

“We want to get more IHOP's to more people, and that's across the board,” Johns said. 

Growth strategy

In the third quarter, IHOP’s same-store sales grew by 1.2%. Parent company Dine Brands expects IHOP to finish 2019 with a same-store sales gain of 1% to 2%. Shares of Dine Brands (DIN) are up 21% so far this year.

“Our growth strategy really falls into three areas,” Johns said. “We're going to drive our PM business ; we're going to drive more to go business, off premise, and then new restaurant development.” 

Johns hopes that the new Flip’d locations will help boost sales at IHOP overall by reaching people in cities who don’t always have time for a sit down dinner.

“One thing you've got to remember is we're IHOP,” Johns said. “We're pancakes—we're fun. It's a fun brand. We're always trying to find new ways and creative ways.”

Valentina Caval is a Producer on Yahoo Finance’s On the Move.
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