IHOP becoming IHOB

Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share

7 June 2018

IHOP should change its name to IHOB

So what do you think IHOB means? If you haven’t heard, IHOP is running a social media campaign, saying it’s changing its name to IHOB.

For most, and most likely, the restaurant chain is just messing with us. Meaning, this is just a marketing campaign, generating chatter and allowing it to promote a new feature. The cynic in all of us tells us that, yes, it’s just a marketing ploy.

IHOBAfter all, IHOP sales are rising, its stock price grows nearly 25% and no one is trademarking IHOB with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. I remain convinced it’s just a temporary marketing campaign.

But here’s the thing. It should change its name to IHOB. Here’s my thinking. If the B stands for breakfast, then the chain stands for an entire day part. Maybe some already think so, but breakfast is the fastest growing day part in restaurants. Even fast food is maxing out elsewhere, which is why McDonalds serves breakfast all day.

“But latching onto a specific menu item is not a smart long-term strategy. It brings no emotional pull. You’re at the mercy of market trends concerning that food item.”

Why IHOB should be the new name

Think about Burger King for a moment. While the entire fast food category’s sales wobble, BK’s sales really wobble. Constant menu changes haven’t helped. Its brand loyalty wans. But being tied to a specific menu item also weighs it down.

A menu item owns no emotional value. Even Wendy’s, which basically ties with BK for market share, holds greater long-term brand value.

Does IHOP sail in the same boat? Recent sales suggest it should stay where it is. But latching onto a specific menu item is not a smart long-term strategy. It brings no emotional pull. You’re at the mercy of market trends concerning that food item. (That’s Burger King’s issue.)

So what about pancakes? Like Burger King, IHOP does sell more food items than its name suggests. And pancakes have a nostalgic aura about them.

Could IHOP be forward thinking enough to actually change its name to IHOB? I seriously doubt it. (Watch. The B will turn out to be something silly like “blueberry.”) But a successful long-term strategy means being about more than pancakes. IHOB could own breakfast.

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