Will IHOP fans flip out over its new fast-casual breakfast foods concept?

Discussion
Rendering: IHOP
Dec 12, 2019
George Anderson

IHOP has announced plans to open a new fast-casual restaurant concept called Flip’d by IHOP that features an all-day menu “inspired” by the chain’s signature items. The first Flip’d opening is planned for next spring in Atlanta. 

“In looking at what exists today in terms of fresh, fast menu options — particularly at breakfast — there’s still tremendous opportunity for growth,” said Jay Johns, president of IHOP, in a statement. “After talking extensively with consumers in large cities across the country, we designed Flip’d by IHOP to deliver on what folks told us they want and need from a trusted brand like IHOP in a fast-casual setting, putting an emphasis on quality ingredients, speed, to-go and delivery.”

The new concept will measure about half the size of a standard IHOP and have neither wait staff nor seating. Customers will order from the restaurant’s menu at a digital kiosk or at the counter. Patrons will also have the option of ordering online for either pickup or delivery. IHOP plans to expand the Flip’d concept to other cities, including Boston, Chicago, Dallas, New York and others, following the opening of the Atlanta location.

Items on the new concept’s menu will take their taste profile cues from IHOP favorites, such as its pancake items, redesigned for better portability. Flip’d by IHOP’s Pancake Bowls, for example, will include made-to-order pancakes served in a to-go bowl with added toppings: scrambled eggs, cheeses, bacon pieces and fresh berries.

“Millions of Americans are settling for sub-par breakfast foods that are either microwaved or have been sitting under a heat lamp because they’re forced to grab something while at their usual coffee spot,” said Mr. Johns. “With Flip’d by IHOP, guests don’t have to compromise — now they can get freshly-made, all-day menu items like Pancake Bowls and Egg Sandwiches along with a hand-crafted espresso beverage for a good price and in a matter of minutes.”

Additional items on the Flip’d by IHOP menu include a “Build Your Own Pancake Bar,” made to order breakfast burritos and bowls, Ultimate Sandwiches like Buttermilk Crispy Chicken, grab-and-go salads and wraps as well as freshly-squeezed orange juice, coffee and specialty espresso beverages.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you see Flip’d by IHOP providing real competition for other restaurants and retailers fighting for market share in the breakfast category? Do you see Flip’d by IHOP eventually surpassing IHOP’s full-service restaurants as a contributor to the company’s financial results?

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Braintrust
"I like the idea of Flip’d, and I like the idea of pancake breakfast bowls, but mostly I like that IHOP is trying something brand new."

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23 Comments on "Will IHOP fans flip out over its new fast-casual breakfast foods concept?"


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Mark Ryski
BrainTrust

This seems like an interesting concept, but the challenge will be getting past the IHOP legacy. The quick service restaurant space has no shortage of large, formidable competitors. This new concept seems like it has a chance at success – assuming it lives up to the promises the IHOP executives are making. It seems like Flip’d and IHOP are positioned to serve different markets and as such they should be able to co-exist. Whether or not Flip’d eventually becomes bigger than IHOP, only time will tell.

Richard Layman
Guest
1 month 8 days ago
I think it’s an interesting concept both as a way to deal with fast casual restaurants as competitors and for expanding the range of locations that they can operate, especially in core urban markets. That being said, it reminds me a bit of Sears Grand, a good idea marrying Sears and Kmart products, and focusing on non mall locations, that went nowhere, or various Kmart experiments in the 1990s like Builders Square, Designer Depot, etc. They could have worked but ultimately, under the control of Kmart execs not willing to do new stuff (at least for them), they didn’t work. (Maybe if Kresge would have kept the separate department stores it once owned here and there across the country, some of that DNA might have remained, e.g. Dayton Hudson vis a vis Target). Even McDonald’s has occasionally owned other concepts like Chipotle. So I wonder if they have the management expertise and commitment to change necessary to pull it off. But I think it’s interesting that they are trying. On another note, I saw Popeyes… Read more »
Richard Hernandez
BrainTrust

I like the idea – a smaller footprint with an emphasis on speed and on pancakes and some differentiating items from the larger units. What’s not to love?

Dr. Stephen Needel
BrainTrust

Full disclosure – I love IHOP. But IHOP is not an urban thing, nor is it a fast food thing, nor is it even vaguely a healthy-eating thing. Its customers appear to be aging, if my IHOPs are any indication. It will certainly attract some attention just for the newness – you can bet the McDonald’s and the Taco Bell crowd will check it out. Atlanta may not be the place to test it though – foot traffic is light relative to other cities (no trains). Don’t bet the rent money on this concept.

Richard Layman
Guest
1 month 8 days ago

I wonder if you missed the point. Breakfast is the thing. And in more and more cities there are few options for breakfast out, other than McDonald’s. That being said, I am concerned more about their ability to be strong in other dayparts. (Remember how every ten years some bright recently graduated college student thinks there is a market for QSRs selling just cereal?)

Dave Nixon
BrainTrust

My prediction: In a few years, they will make a one-letter change to their name from “Flip’d” to “Flop’d” in an attempt to generate buzz to save this concept.

Do we REALLY need another QSR food concept like this from a brand not known for having expertise in this space? That’s a big brand perception hurdle to jump over for me.

Stephen Rector
BrainTrust

When I think of IHOP, I think of a treat for myself on the weekend when I have time to linger over a cup of coffee. Flip’d by IHOP is going to need to use some clever marketing to tell the customer that they have fast, “on the go” offerings to have current customers try the concept and to gain new ones.

Richard Layman
Guest
1 month 8 days ago

I am now in Salt Lake City. In this market, Harmons is the premier independent grocer, with perimeter departments that are definitely specialty. At their flagship store, they have a burger grill for lunch. The burger is premium meat, the cheese is excellent, the bun is superb, the fixins’ bar is not quite Fuddruckers, but far beyond the average burger joint, and the fries are better than any fast food place and better than most “regular restaurants.” I’d rather go to Harmons for a burger (especially because my loyalty card will give me a free burger after 10 purchases, without having to deal with punches).

Can Flip’d do that with coffee? With pancakes? With other signature items? So that they are totally awesome and distinctive and destination worthy? That’s what they have to do.

Carol Spieckerman
BrainTrust

IHOP may have caught grief for previous experiments but hey, at least they’re trying new things. With breakfast bowls proliferating in grocery aisles, Flip’d is an awesome way for IHOP to own breakfast with an efficient, customer-friendly concept. Maybe they’ll jump on the bandwagon and add meatless (Beyond, Impossible, etc.) and/or eggless (e.g., JUST Egg) options as well.

Laura Davis-Taylor
BrainTrust

I’m with Carol here … and being that I live in Atlanta, I can’t wait to try it!

Shep Hyken
BrainTrust

Even it wasn’t an extension of IHOP, I like it. It’s a fun name and ties in well with the pancake theme of some of the menu items. (I can’t wait to try the pancake bowl!) IHOP is an iconic brand. It needs to keep up with the changing customers – as in new generations of customers. This is a great way to reach them at another level and location. I’m glad to see IHOP is working to keep their brand relevant.

Cathy Hotka
BrainTrust

I wouldn’t have tested this concept in Atlanta (D.C. or New York City have way more foot traffic) but this concept will be a winner. IHOP is all but absent from cities, so the menu will be fresh and new. Looks like a winner to me.

Richard Layman
Guest
1 month 8 days ago

Except that food halls go for independents, I see this working in that setting, provided they execute at the desired level. I remember thinking it was really cool to see Utz potato chip booths in Baltimore. Royal Farms, a regional Baltimore convenience store, is selling their chicken in the Cross Street Market, a public market in Baltimore. I think that creative companies can promote their brand in unique ways in this fashion.

Cathy Hotka
BrainTrust

And Royal Farms’ chicken is crazy delicious!

Georganne Bender
BrainTrust

Other than bakery items, your fast breakfast choices are egg sandwiches, egg sandwiches and egg sandwiches. I like the idea of Flip’d, and I like the idea of pancake breakfast bowls, but mostly I like that IHOP is trying something brand new.

Jeff Sward
BrainTrust

If doughnuts can play in this space, then so can pancakes. And wait a minute … hmmm. Burgers get “flip’d” too … right?

David Naumann
BrainTrust

The article indicated that Flip’d was positioned as a fast-casual concept, but said it had no seating. That sounds more like fast food and it sounds like some of the items might not be as convenient to eat in your car or while you drive, like other fast food breakfast sandwiches.

I love the name, but am skeptical of the positioning. Hopefully Flip’d doesn’t become a Flop’d concept.

Richard Layman
Guest
1 month 8 days ago

Very good point about seating. The image shows seating, but outside. This should be something that is tested. But I am with you, pancakes + syrup are not something you eat on the run.

Harley Feldman
BrainTrust

Flip’d is a good idea. People are always looking for a quick breakfast regardless of time of day. If the execution at Flip’d is quick and the food tastes good, it should be successful. If Flip’d is successful, it will provide a smaller margin than the full service restaurants and probably never as much as the full service restaurants.

Patricia Vekich Waldron
Staff

The most successful restaurant companies have a variety of concepts, each serving a specific market/need. Great to see IHOP take a fresh approach to a hot day part.

Craig Sundstrom
Guest

A restaurant without seating? Sorry, no, I don’t think so. It may well find a market, but I’m betting the market is small … just as food trucks have been a nice complement to — not replacement for — restaurants.

Jeffrey McNulty
BrainTrust

I admire and applaud IHOP’S ability to embrace innovation. It is refreshing to see a legacy restaurant chain pivoting to capitalize on the burgeoning trend of speed and convenience in the breakfast sector. I am looking forward to seeing more of their Flip’d stores in the near future.

Richard J. George, Ph.D.
BrainTrust

While the IHOP brand image may be a drag on any sub brands like Flip’d, it is critical to the future of the flagship brand and company. If executed properly, it may become the IHOP brand of the future. Okay with self-serve, concerned with lack of seating, which means the products will need to pass the taste and test of delayed consumption.

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Braintrust
"I like the idea of Flip’d, and I like the idea of pancake breakfast bowls, but mostly I like that IHOP is trying something brand new."

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