Apr 17, 2020 | Report Announcements

IHOP is well established as the largest player in the $1B+ family chain segment with 28% market share and the largest marketing budget. The brand’s breakfast heritage leadership positioning is centered around pancakes (complimented by its never empty coffee pot & flavored syrups), a fun/likeable experience and engaging servers who provide a warm & welcoming environment. While “this is not your grandmother’s IHOP” with a younger demo vs. segment peers, value-oriented guests still represent 40% of the total which reflects IHOP’s “middle America” positioning. A significantly lower value deals mix reflects the brand’s ability to upsell and corporate recently reported plans to test multiple approaches to value including price points & deals during non-peak hours as opposed to its 1H19 focus on abundant value. IHOP seeks to expand beyond “all things breakfast, any time of the day” to strength in lunch & dinner by leveraging its sandwiches, salads, entrees and its Ultimate Steakburgers platform. Also, the brand seeks to break through the clutter with its ramping culinary innovation and with nostalgic connections created by media & CPG promotional tie-ins. Operational & training improvements are driving higher guest satisfaction scores and off-premise growth improves convenience. Long-term sales (post shut-down) should continue to benefit from: more effective marketing & increased cultural relevance; increased investments in research & consumer insight designed to help understand evolving dining habits in order to drive frequency & check; a focus on traffic-generating menu innovation that helps with PM daypart expansion; reinvented guest experience; enhanced guest engagement with CRM/loyalty; guest satisfaction improvements; accelerated growth in its off-premise business; and remodeling. In any case, we suggest that an everyday value platform could drive even stronger long-term comp growth and a lean into value is possible given food costs that strongly out-perform the segment average, reflecting a large mix of high margin pancakes. In conclusion, we like IHOP’s strategy, improvements and execution and believe things could only get better if the chain is able to address everyday value in a margin friendly way.

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