IHOP decides to kickass on burger chains… say, what?

Changing name to IHOB … or are they?

Just in case you the news got drowned out by the NOKO Summit …

IHOP announced that the company was rebranding … from P is for pancakes to B is for burgers.


Marketing brilliance or pure folly?

Here’s my take …


Changing the name chainwide would be pure folly.


1) IHOP is an iconic brand that “owns” the pancake niche.  In interviews, first question to the CEO is “Will you still sell pancakes?”

2) “IHOP” — the name — has “stretchability” … my bet: most folks are aware of IHOP, but not all even realize that the “P” stands for pancakes … somebody is already buying the other stuff on the menu.

3) The battlefield is strewn with the bodies of companies who have tried to do battle with the burger chains. Would you want to put all of your eggs (or pancakes) in that basket?

4) Changing a brand name is a very expensive process … it costs a lot to change the signs, menus, letterheads etc.  I know, because I’ve gone through a couple of major brand name changes (GE appliances to Black & Decker; Black & Decker Pro Power Tools to DeWalt). Franchises are certain to resist the cost of changing over.


OK, so what’s going on?

My bet: It’s just a marketing ploy … aimed at generating mucho publicity for the non-pancake part of the menu … for getting more lunch and dinnertime business.

If that’s the case, then the headfake is a brilliant marketing move.

In the past couple of days, IHOP has gotten an enormous amount of free publicity … worth millions of dollars of advertising … and has created a lot of buzz around some new burgers on its menu.



When pressed in an interview, the IHOP CEO admitted:

“We are still going to be IHOP … we just want to convey that we are taking our burgers as seriously as our pancakes.”

In other words: “Gotcha”.

They won’t be a threat to the burger giants … but, they will sell a few more burgers.

Thanks to a creative PR stunt … and lots of free advertising.


Follow on Twitter @KenHoma

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One Response to “IHOP decides to kickass on burger chains… say, what?”

  1. Shocker: IHOP is staying IHOP. | The Homa Files Says:

    […] At the time, we posted: IHOP changing name to IHOB … or are they? […]

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