Can IHOP's burger scheme really spark a sales revival?

Marion JacobsJun 13, 2018

A couple of days ago, people were freaking out online because IHOP released a clip that they're changing their name to "IHOB", or "IHOb" because they just flipped the P. Clever.

"As much as we love our pancakes, we'd never change our name to Whatapancake", it tweeted.

Meant to promote a new line of hamburgers as the restaurant chain tries to branch out from its breakfast niche, the switch is part of a marketing campaign and not an actual rebranding, company officials told CNN.

IHOb's revamped menu features seven different specialty steakburgers: The Jalepeno Kick, Cowboy BBQ, Classic with Bacon, Mega Monster, Mushroom & Swiss, Big Brunch and The Classic.

Though the company has been offering burgers since its creation in 1958, IHOP's main motive for revamping the menu item and emphasizing it is to attract a wider audience, according to Chief Marketing Officer Brad Haley.

The good news for truly angered pancake connoisseurs is that all the burger brouhaha appears to be a marketing ploy. Revamping its burger selection could convince customers to visit later in the day and for more than just hash browns and eggs.

IHOP recently announced a new campaign where they will be changing their name from IHOP to IHOb, the "b" being an upside down version of the letter "P".

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While IHOP is taking a ribbing from food-related rivals, it's also attracting attention from other corners of the world.

In addition to transforming into IHOb on Twitter, the chain changed its name and signage at its flagship location to celebrate the Ultimate Steakburgers. That's like going into a Pizza Hut and ordering a burger.

Texas-based Whataburger was one of the first companies to chime in on the name change.

Reaction to the name change on social media ranges from excitement and anticipation to confused and baffled.

A mother-daughter duo at the same eatery said they wouldn't think of IHOP for dinner, while a young man carrying a skateboard said he patronizes that IHOP in the wee hours of the morning because it's the only place open at that hour - and even then he orders pancakes.

Shares of IHOP's parent company Dine Brands were up more than 1 percent Monday.

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