Los Angeles-Al Lapin Jr., an entrepreneur who co-founded the International House of Pancakes with a single restaurant in 1958, has died. He was 76. Lapin died of cancer at USC/Norris Cancer Center in Los Angeles, his son Randy said.
Lapin ran a series of coffee carts in Los Angeles when he took notice of fast-food chains like McDonald's flourishing in Southern California and decided to open his own restaurant. Convinced he could market pancakes and waffles to the masses, he and his younger brother Jerry started the original IHOP in Los Angeles' Toluca Lake section with $25,000. The restaurant stood out for its chalet theme, boysenberry flavored syrups, blue roof and unusual pancake dishes such as Tahitian Orange Pineapple. According to his son, Lapin said his own favorite pancakes were "the ones that sell."
As president and chairman, Lapin expanded the chain in the 1960s through franchising and eventually built up a conglomerate, International Industries Inc., that included Orange Julius and other food chains. -Nation's Restaurant News