- IHOP is bringing back old favorites and unveiling new items as part of a menu overhaul.
- The Dine Brands chain cut its menu by roughly a third during the pandemic and has been slowly adding more items.
- The Cinn-A-Stack pancakes are returning April 3, after IHOP fielded almost a dozen requests every week for their comeback.
IHOP on Wednesday unveiled a revamped menu that includes more than a dozen new items and the return of its popular Cinn-A-Stack pancakes.
The pancake chain, which is owned by Applebee's parent Dine Brands, cut about a third of its menu during pandemic lockdowns. Since then, the chain has slowly brought items back or introduced new ones, like burritos and bowls. Still, its menu remains about 15% smaller than it was previously.
The new menu, which will be available nationwide on April 3, spans breakfast, lunch and dinner and revives several items that disappeared during the pandemic, like the Cinn-A-Stack pancakes and Eggs Benedict. Those classics' homecoming could help draw back diners who've cut back on their restaurant spending or have been buying their breakfast elsewhere.
IHOP reported same-store sales growth of 2% in the fourth quarter as price hikes helped offset traffic declines.
"[The menu] is much more focused, based on what our guests have told us that they're looking for," the company's chief marketing officer, Kieran Donahue, told CNBC.
IHOP was fielding almost a dozen requests every week from customers asking for Cinna-A-Stack pancakes back on the menu, according to Donahue. The Eggs Benedict line is made with a new hollandaise sauce and includes classic ham, veggie, spicy poblano and bourbon bacon jam versions of the classic breakfast dish.
The restaurant will also expand into savory crepes, an idea that came straight from its franchisees, who operate all of IHOP's locations. Crepe flavors will include cinnamon bun, fresh berry and chicken pesto.
Its Steakburger line also got an update and will include a four-cheese crisp and bourbon bacon jam options. Customers looking for surf over turf can order the crispy battered fish and shrimp platters, and diners wanting a lighter option can choose the fresh berry or chopped chicken salad.
The move to broaden the menu also required more training for employees. Donahue said bringing back old favorites, like the Eggs Benedict, meant reminding workers how to poach eggs, for example.
"But the beauty of how our menu comes together is that 90% of what we do is on the griddle," she said.
The pancake chain's menu overhaul comes as the broader industry seeks to lure back diners. Last year's higher prices scared away customers who tightened their budgets, and eateries are looking to boost traffic in order to drive sales growth.
IHOP rival Denny's recently revealed its own updated menu, made possible by recent kitchen renovations. Other chains have ramped up promotions. Subway is bringing back its Footlong Pass, while Red Lobster offered all-you-can-eat lobster at its Times Square location on Tuesday.