- IHOP will open its first fast casual concept, Flip'd by IHOP, in July in New York City, according to a press release emailed to Restaurant Dive. Three additional units are expected to open later this year in Lawrence, Kansas; Columbus, Ohio; and Dublin, Ohio.
- The company originally revealed plans in 2019 to debut the concept in April 2020 in large metropolitan areas, but the pandemic forced IHOP to put the rollout on hold. Now IHOP's pilot will now span three different market types, including urban cities, suburban malls and nontraditional convenience stores.
- Flip'd is part of IHOP's larger strategic growth and development plan for 2021, which will also include new traditional locations, nontraditional units and small format stores.
Flip'd will help IHOP expand its off-premise channel, which grew significantly during the pandemic. IHOP's off-premise same-restaurant sales during Q1 2021 increased 123.7% and made up 33.3% of its sales mix during the quarter. Delivery sales mix grew to 16.4% from 15.6% in Q4 2020 and take-out sales fell to 16.9% to 17.7%, according to an earnings release. In the year-ago quarter, off-premise sales made up roughly 16% of sales, comparably.
"Since we originally announced flip'd in 2019, a lot has changed. We wanted to ensure that we were evolving the concept to meet our guests' needs," Jay Johns, President of IHOP, said in the press release. "While we know there is a pent-up demand for a return to dining in restaurants, we anticipate that our delivery and takeout business is here to stay as consumer needs continue to shift and they seek out different ways to experience IHOP favorites."
Flip'd will allow guests to order from a digital kiosk, directly at the counter or online for pickup or delivery, which could help attract convenience-minded diners interested in more contactless experiences. Its menu will offer breakfast items such as pancake bowls and egg sandwiches, as well as afternoon and evening options like burritos, bowls, steakburgers and chicken sandwiches. The menu will also include grab-and-go salads and wraps, baked goods, juices and specialty coffee drinks.
IHOP has come a long way from the 85% dip in same-store sales it recorded during the week ending March 29, 2020. In Q1 2021, the company's same-store sales were down 0.9%. With recovery in the forecast, shifting to growth mode could help the company regain momentum.
During Q1 2021, IHOP franchisees opened eight locations globally, and the company expects development paused during the pandemic to resume this year, Johns said during the company's earnings call. This growth will continue into 2022, and Johns said IHOP expects to exceed its annual average of 60 new units with a mix of its four different building types: traditional restaurants, nontraditional restaurants, Flip'd units and the smaller footprint prototype it will test later this year.