business news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

The International House of Pancakes - better known as IHOP - has teased via social media that after 60 years of existence it is "flippin' our name to IHOb.”

However, it hasn’t yet said what the ‘b’ will stand for, though most folks seem to think that it will stand for ‘breakfast,’ and signify the broader menu offerings at the chain.

The curtain on the mystery will be raised next Monday.

However, NPR notes that “the Internet isn't big on waiting. Hungry for answers, people responded to the cryptic tweets: Could it be breakfast? Biscuits? Brunch? The improbable bancakes? Simply, and minimally, bacon? The on-trend bitcoin?

“Those are a few of the more popular guesses on IHOP's Twitter feed, in a thread that's littered with the company's coy responses.”

The story goes on:

“Whatever the IHOPlan is for the chain's widely recognized name, it seems to have been long in the making: The Twitter handle for IHOb is already reserved and verified, having joined Twitter in July 2016.

“According to DINE Brands, which operates both the IHOP and Applebee's restaurant chains, there are currently more than 1,671 IHOP locations in the U.S. In the most recent fiscal year, IHOP stores generated $185 million in revenue, on sales of $3.3 billion. At its annual stockholders' meeting last month, IHOP reported that nearly half of its customers come in during breakfast time. Lunch follows (with 28 percent) and then dinner (16 percent) and late-night service (7 percent).”

While the whole teasing thing may have been seen as tantalizing by some marketing person, it strikes me as much ado about very little, and they may be disappointed when the final reveal is seen as a letdown. I think marketers have to be careful about overestimating the degree to which they can create anticipation … it might’ve been better just to announce the name change and hope for some excitement.

Then again, my lack of intrigue may be traceable to my total disinterest in IHOP as a dining possibility … last time I ate in one, which was years ago, I felt like I’d dropped a bag of cement into my stomach. That was an Eye-Opener, and I haven’t been back.

Life’s too short to eat mediocre food, even if there’s a lot of it.
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