IHOP on Wednesday unveiled a revamped menu that includes more than a dozen new items and the return of its popular Cinn-A-Stack pancakes.
The pancake chain owned by Applebee’s parents Dine brands, has cut about a third of its menu during the pandemic lockdown. Since then, the chain has slowly been bringing back items or introducing new ones, like burritos and bowls. Still, the menu remains about 15% smaller than before.
The new menu, which will be available nationwide on April 3, includes breakfast, lunch and dinner and revitalizes several dishes that have disappeared during the pandemic, such as the Cinn-A-Stack pancakes and Eggs Benedict. The homecoming of these classics could help draw back diners who have cut back on restaurant spending or bought their breakfast elsewhere.
IHOP reported fourth-quarter same-store sales growth of 2% as price increases helped offset the drop in traffic.
“[The menu] is much more focused based on what our guests have told us they are looking for,” Kieran Donahue, the company’s chief marketing officer, told CNBC.
According to Donahue, IHOP received nearly a dozen inquiries each week from customers asking about Cinna-A-Stack pancakes on the menu. Made with a new Hollandaise sauce, the Eggs Benedict line includes classic versions of the classic breakfast dish featuring ham, veggie, spicy poblano and bourbon bacon jam.
The restaurant will also offer savory crepes, an idea that came directly from its franchisees, who operate all IHOP locations. Crepe flavors include cinnamon bun, fresh berries and chicken pesto.
The steakburger line has also been updated and will include options with four cheese chips and bourbon bacon jam. Customers looking for surf over turf can order the crispy breaded fish and shrimp platters, and guests wanting a lighter option can choose the salad with fresh berries or chopped chicken.
The move to expand the menu also required more training for staff. Donahue said bringing back old favorites like Eggs Benedict means reminding workers how to poach eggs, for example.
“But the beauty of our menu is that 90% of what we do is on the frying pan,” she said.
The pancake chain’s menu overhaul comes as the broader industry tries to lure diners back. Last year’s higher prices have deterred customers who have been cutting budgets, and restaurants are looking to increase traffic to drive sales growth.
IHOP rival Dennys has recently unveiled its own updated menu made possible by the recent kitchen refurbishment. Other chains have ramped up 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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