IHOP wants to take things casual.
The pancake chain has announced plans to launch Flip'd by IHOP, a series of fast casual breakfast restaurants that will feature “IHOP-inspired items, like pancake bowls, egg sandwiches, breakfast burritos (and) crispy chicken sandwiches," according to a press release. Flip’d will launch in Atlanta in spring 2020, before a probable move to New York, Washington, Denver, and San Francisco.
Flip'd will differ from IHOP in a number of ways. The food will be available to go, which is key since there will be limited seating at Flip’d locations. IHOP is aiming this spin-off at urban areas, where the larger footprint of their traditional restaurant (usually around 4,000 square feet) can often be prohibitive.
IHOP president Jay Johns, who took over in June, told CNN that he feels IHOP has an advantage over many traditional breakfast outlets such as Starbucks, because many consumers buy coffee in the mornings and then settle for whatever pre-made food options are available. In contrast, IHOP meals will be freshly prepared, and can be ordered online in advance.
IHOP isn't unfamiliar with innovation. The chain has recently been pushing non-breakfast food items like its hamburgers, and even shortened its name from International House of Pancakes to emphasize the change. But with Flip’d, IHOP appears to be rededicating itself to the most important meal of the day, which as the Wall Street Journal pointed out, is one of the most lucrative areas in the food space, with a total value of $234 billion.
It’s also one of the most competitive, and the so-called "breakfast wars" are starting to heat up. Wendy’s is going to begin serving breakfast items like the Honey Butter Chicken Biscuit next year (its fourth attempt), while Dunkin Donuts has been investing in new breakfast items, including the vegan Beyond Meat breakfast sandwich, which was so successful it was pushed out nationally two months ahead of schedule.