RR 2023 IHOP Report

May 15, 2023 | Insights, Restaurant Research

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Executive Summary

IHOP is well positioned as the largest player in the $1B+ family chain segment with 30% market share and the largest marketing budget in the segment. The chain is well known for: an unexpected twist on “all things breakfast, any time of the day”; world famous pancakes; flavored syrups; and the never empty coffee pot. Also, a plethora of interesting menu & combo options appeal to a younger demo that values choice – 80% of menu is customizable, providing an important point of differentiation from QSR breakfast offerings. IHOP’s sit-down appeal centers around a fun/likeable experience and engaging servers who provide a warm & welcoming environment. The chain’s goal is to maintain breakfast leadership while also expanding other dayparts and this effort is facilitated by flexible, tempting menu options that can appeal across all dayparts. While value-oriented guests represent a sizeable share of IHOP’s total, the brand has been successful upselling with POP materials, menu layout and suggestive selling. Further, its IHOPPY Hour, which starts at 3PM with meals priced from $6+, helps drive sales during the underutilized PM daypart. A favorable long-term sales outlook reflects the brand’s strong execution around menu, marketing and digital/off-premise. Also, the brand’s long-term positioning should benefit from: efforts to better reach a younger demo; strategies to drive sales during low capacity PM dayparts; and the recent addition of a stable of virtual brands. Having said this, it is notable that IHOP’s key breakfast daypart is vulnerable to the impact of economic weakness & inflation on the chain’s core lower-income demo and this challenge is accentuated by strong QSR breakfast value competition. In conclusion, while IHOP’s strategy and execution provide a solid long-term positioning, the potential need to pivot further towards value given the current economic environment could be constrained by the system’s already stressed store-level margin.

IHOP Market Share

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