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How 'Griddle Mastery' and Menu Innovation Makes Franchising Appetizing for This No. 1 Family Restaurant Beyond the food, IHOP's strong growth, brand recognition, and franchise support are fueling its success.
For the company that ranks No. 1 among family restaurants on the 2024 Franchise 500 List, breakfast isn't just about pancakes and omelettes—it's about culinary creativity that delights customers all hours of the day.
With nearly 1,800 franchise restaurants across the globe1, IHOP has built a highly recognized brand during its 65-year history. On this year's franchise list, IHOP comes in at No. 19, placing in the top 5% of all companies in size/growth, the top 10% for franchisee support, and the top 2% for brand strength. The 2024 Franchise 500 is Entrepreneur's most competitive ever with 1,389 franchisors submitting, which is a record number.
So, in other words, IHOP is setting an impressive standard in its category and beyond. "IHOP has consistently looked to add new restaurants year after year," says Jacob Barden, IHOP's VP of Development. "We offer a variety of options for development, and we focus on growth and the development of our restaurants – not only traditional, full-service sit-down dining restaurants, but also a smaller expression, counter service type model for non-traditional venues."
Creating an irresistible eating experience.
Part of the Dine Brands family of restaurants, Barden says IHOP serves more than 180 million guests a year. The key to delighting so many guests is what Barden calls IHOP's "'griddle mastery', part of IHOP's purpose, which is to serve joy every day."
"Our menu innovations continue to generate positive reception from our guests, and we will continue to evolve, enhance, and innovate our menu, focused not only on our 'classic favorites,' but also on bringing, fun, flavorful, and innovative items that can be enjoyed any time of day," he says.
Barden also points to IHOP's first-ever loyalty program called the International Bank of Pancakes. As of Q3 2023, the program grew to more than 7 million members.
"The program launched with a category-leading digital experience for guests; our new app and website were redesigned to enhance the ordering experience, allowing guests to better customize to their tastes and preferences either in our restaurants or on-the-go," he explains. "The data we've gathered from the program enables us to methodically plan promotions and menu offers that are most likely to appeal to our guests."
A strong franchise opportunity with a long track record.
According to Barden, there are 1,790 IHOP restaurants around the world, including restaurants in all 50 states, two U.S. territories and 13 countries outside the United States. With opportunities available in select domestic prime markets and internationally for both traditional and non-traditional development, IHOP offers dedicated development resources that take franchisees through the franchise development process from start to finish.
"Our strong franchisee system holds substantial historical knowledge, with an average of 17 years with the brand," Barden explains. "When you become an IHOP franchisee, you gain strong resources, including a focus on operations excellence and on-the-ground support from our field operations, training, and marketing teams."
Click here to learn more about the IHOP franchising opportunity.
1 As of September 30, 2023