IHOP unveiled a revamped menu on Wednesday that includes more than a dozen new items and the return of its popular Cinn-A-Stack pancakes.
The pancake chain, which is owned by Applebee’s relative Restaurant brands, has cut about a third of its menu during the pandemic shutdowns. Since then, the chain has slowly brought back items or introduced new ones, like burritos and bowls. Yet its menu remains about 15% smaller than it was before.
The new menu, which will be available nationwide on April 3, covers breakfast, lunch and dinner and revives several dishes that disappeared during the pandemic, such as Cinn-A-Stack pancakes and eggs Benedict. . Bringing these classics home could help put a damper on diners who have cut back on dining out or bought their breakfast elsewhere.
IHOP reported comparable store sales growth of 2% in the fourth quarter as price increases helped offset lower traffic.
“[The menu] is much more targeted, based on what our customers have told us they are looking for,” the company’s chief marketing officer, Kieran Donahue, told CNBC.
IHOP was responding to nearly a dozen requests each week from customers asking that Cinna-A-Stack pancakes return to the menu, according to Donahue. The Eggs Benedict range is made with a new Hollandaise sauce and includes classic ham, vegetable, spicy poblano and bourbon bacon jam versions of the classic breakfast dish.
The restaurant will also expand into savory crepes, an idea that came directly from its franchisees, who operate all of IHOP’s locations. Crepe flavors will include cinnamon roll, fresh berries, and chicken pesto.
Its Steakburger lineup has also been updated and will include crispy four-cheese jam and bourbon bacon options. Customers looking for grass surf can order the crispy breaded fish and shrimp dishes, and diners wanting a lighter option can choose the fresh berry or ground chicken salad.
The decision to expand the menu also necessitated more training for employees. Donahue said bringing back old favorites, like Eggs Benedict, meant reminding workers how to poach eggs, for example.
“But the beauty of how our menu comes together is that 90% of what we make is on the griddle,” she said.
The revamp of the pancake chain’s menu comes as the wider industry seeks to attract diners. Last year’s higher prices have scared away budget-squeezing diners, and restaurants are looking to increase traffic to drive sales growth.
rival IHOP Denny’s recently unveiled its own updated menu, made possible by recent kitchen renovations. Other chains have multiplied the promotions. Subway is bringing back its Footlong Pass, while Red Lobster offered all-you-can-eat lobster at its Times Square location on Tuesday.
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