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The International House of Pancakes has long had a place in my heart, and not just from the clogged arteries its greasy fare has given me. It’s part sentimentality and nostalgia; there was an IHOP near my high school where my friends and I would hang out when we were bored and I made many a late night IHOP runs in college (drunk pancakes are sleeper amazing). There’s also the fact that I just haven’t had exposure to the other big competitors in the “chain restaurant breakfast” arena. The only time I ever got to eat at Waffle House was on hockey road trips as a kid, and I was always underwhelmed, to say the least. Denny’s has long been the outdated, red-headed stepchild in this war. So it hurts my heart to see that the King of the ‘Cake has turned down a dark path.
In their attempt to open themselves up as more than just a breakfast joint, IHOP has begun marketing its new line of burgers and attempted to rebrand itself as IHOb (flipping the “P” upside down to a lowercase “b” for burger). This is a mistake and, as USA Today documents, they are rightly getting clapped back for this.
It’s easy to see the corporate machinations behind this move. Some CEO at the head of IHOP bangs his fist on the table and demands in a J. Jonah Jameson voice that they start selling more than just breakfast food. They need another angle. Burgers! Of course! Everyone loves burgers, they’re easy to make en masse, and no one else has cornered the market on burgers!
Except oh wait, yeah, everyone else makes burgers. And, seeing this nakedly desperate attempt to enter their market, the established burger chains took their chance to publicly flog IHOP’s dumbass decision:
Burger King started out the trolling expertly by changing their Twitter handle
Whataburger made a really good point about what a stupid move this was
As much as we love our pancakes, we'd never change our name to Whatapancake
— Whataburger® (@Whataburger) June 11, 2018
Checker’s got into the mix with some spicy memes (and good for them because I legitimately forgot they existed for a second there)
So… Burgers, huh? pic.twitter.com/7Bo3meSAsV
— Checkers & Rally's (@CheckersRallys) June 11, 2018
And finally, Wendy’s came at ’em with the kill shot
Remember when you were like 7 and thought changing your name to Thunder BearSword would be super cool?
Like that, but our cheeseburgers are still better.
— Wendy's (@Wendys) June 11, 2018
God, I haven’t seen someone get bodied that hard since Scott Stevens came across the ice and annihilated Paul Kariya in the ‘03 Cup finals.
IHOP, let me just be real with you here: your plan to sell burgers will fail. You are not a burger joint. When someone gets a craving for a burger, they do not think of you. They do not see an IHOP sign on the highway and pull over to get some greasy lunch fare.
You are a breakfast joint, and unquestionably the best pancake joint. Although waffles are superior to pancakes, everyone can get the occasional craving for a thick stack of your fluffy pancakes covered in fruit and syrup. You are who you are, you need to lean into it.
If you’re that desperate to improve business, IHOP, you need to stay in your lane. If you’re going to sell burgers, make them sweet and savory burgers between two pancakes. Go full pancake mad scientist and start selling those pancake-wrapped sausages, fries, burgers, hot dogs, or whatever greasy fare you fancy. And, if you really want to get the millennials into your shop, how about some brunch specials? Do something like an unlimited mimosa/pancake deal for brunch on Saturday and Sunday morning, and us hungover millennials will flock to you in droves. For a reasonable price, we’re not above drinking some watered-down mimos and shoveling delicious, carb-and-sugar-filled pancakes down our gullets, rather than eating at some bougie brunch spot. Like I said, we know your pancakes are delicious, and the more you can get half-drunk young adults hooked on the idea that a stack of flapjacks with some hair of the dog is the cure for what’s ailing them after a night out, the better your sales will be.
But all of this depends on you realizing one thing IHOP: you sell pancakes, not burgers. Stay in your lane, flip that “b” back to a “P,” and go back to doing what you do best. Stop embarrassing yourselves or I swear I’ll bring Burger King in here to take you behind the woodshed. .