Twitter erupts in snark over ‘IHOb’s’ name change

The restaurant chain is promoting a new line of burgers on its menu but insists that the adopted moniker is not permanent.

You probably don’t think of hamburgers when going out for breakfast, but the restaurant formerly known as the International House of Pancakes wants to change that.

On Monday, IHOP announced that the letter in its new name, “IHOb,” stands for “burgers.” The chain kept social media users guessing for a week before it revealed the news.

IHOP issued a press release, which included lengthy corporate quotes such as this:

“Burgers are a quintessential, American menu item so it makes perfect sense that IHOP, one of the most iconic, all-American comfort-food brands in the world, would go over the top to create a delicious line-up of quality burgers that hit the spot any time of day,” said Chef Nevielle Panthaky, Head of Culinary at IHOb. “Our new Ultimate Steakburgers are made with all-natural, 100% USDA Choice, Black Angus ground beef that is smashed on the grill to create a sear that locks in the juices and flavor. With seven different burger builds, all Steakburgers are custom built and piled high with premium quality ingredients and unique, signature sauces in between a buttered and grilled Brioche bun. There’s definitely a juicy Steakburger for whatever you might be craving at any time of day! The IHOP Culinary team took the creation of these Steakburgers as seriously as we take innovation around our pancakes, which means they’re soon to become world famous, too.”

IHOP also released the following commercial to promote its name change:

Twitter users derided the chain for the move:

However, the new moniker won’t stick around forever.

Billboard reported:

A spokesperson says that the name change is not permanent, but more of a temporary change to promote its new burger line. While the breakfast-favorite chain has specialized in pancakes since 1958, it also has offered burgers since that date as well.

The New York Times reported:

Brad Haley, IHOP’s chief marketing officer, said that the idea had been proposed by the marketing firm Droga5 in November. He said that only one IHOP location, on Sunset Boulevard, had undergone a design change in response to the new (fake) name, which is meant to promote a product line of Ultimate Steakburgers.

Droga5 had originally pitched a campaign based on the idea of “pancakes, pancakes, pancakes,” Mr. Haley said.

“So we said that’s great, we agree with that approach obviously and we subsequently hired them. But we said, there will come times when we want to promote something other than pancakes. They came back with the idea of IHOb.”

Another quote from IHOP’s press release read:

“Everyone knows that IHOP makes world-famous pancakes so we felt like the best way to convince them that we are as serious about our new line of Ultimate Steakburgers as we are about our pancakes, was to change our name to IHOb,” said [Haley]. “We’ve pancaked pancakes for 60 years now so it’s the perfect time to start burgerin’ burgers, and we’re kicking it off by flipping the ‘p’ in IHOP to a ‘b’ for burgers. And, when you try them, I think you’ll agree with me that IHOb’s new line of Ultimate Steakburgers are so good that I’d put them up against anyone’s … just like our pancakes.”

The promotion is a way to drum up more revenue outside of the breakfast fare IHOP is known for.

CNBC reported:

While restaurants like IHOP are able to get customers through the door in the wee morning hours, keeping them coming after 11 a.m. has been a struggle.

Lunch represents 33 percent of total food service industry traffic, according to The NPD Group. However, lunch sales have been in a decline over the last few years, with more workers staying at the office and nibbling their midday meals at their desks.

Though the campaign was meant to highlight other menu offerings, the promotion and subsequent name change (however temporary) was met with confusion as well as ridicule.

IHOP’s social media team has been assuring Twitter users that pancakes are still available:

In boasting of its burgers, IHOP also opened itself to snarky tweets from competing chains, such as Wendy’s and Chili’s Grill & Bar:

Even with the onslaught of mocking comments, IHOP might have pulled ahead with this PR stunt. At time of publication, both “IHOP” and “IHOB” continue to hold top Twitter trends in the United States, and the move has grabbed many headlines.

It also has boosted its parent company’s stock price.

CNBC reported:

Shares of IHOP’s parent company Dine Brands were up more than 2.5 percent Monday. Dine Brands, which has a market cap of $1.2 billion, has seen its stock rise more than 44 percent over the past year.

What do you think of the name change, PR Daily users?

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