SOURCE: IHOP

July 07, 2008 07:00 ET

50 Never Tasted So Sweet

IHOP, the Original "I", Celebrates Its 50th Birthday in 2008

GLENDALE, CA--(Marketwire - July 7, 2008) - Before the iPod®, iBook® and IPO, there was the original "I" that made the world flip. Founded in Southern California on this day in 1958, the International House of Pancakes quickly became a national staple with its golden pancakes and family-friendly atmosphere. In 1973, the chain officially became known as IHOP, starting the "I" craze and blazing a trail for all the "I's" that would follow.

Today, IHOP joins Ellen DeGeneres, Madonna, Sharon Stone, NASA, the Los Angeles Dodgers and other American icons turning 50 this year by proving that 50 isn't what it used to be. According to leading consumer research firm Yankelovich, turning 50 now marks a time of self-discovery, independence and indulgence.

"Over the last 50 years, IHOP has secured its status as an American icon with its focus on great food that brings families and friends together," said Julia Stewart, DineEquity Inc.'s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. "Today, IHOP continues to resonate with the family-friendly values it was founded on, while still providing guests an affordable, everyday dining experience with warm and friendly service."

Since 1958, loyal IHOP guests have shown that they can't get enough of the restaurant's all-American fare. Nearly 16 billion pancakes topped with more than 32 million gallons of syrup have been served over the last 50 years. To wash the pancakes down, nearly 74 million pounds of coffee beans have been ground to fill IHOP's famous Never-Empty Pot of International House Roast Coffee.

Not at all over the hill, IHOP is just hitting its stride. To mark the milestone birthday, IHOP launched IHOPStuff.com featuring stylish vintage tees emblazoned with iconic IHOP images and signature dishes like "Rooty Tooty Fresh 'n Fruity." Continuing the celebration, a national contest engaged thousands of IHOP fans to share memories at the restaurant from the past 50 years, showcasing the role IHOP has played in many special occasions and life events. The winner of the national "It Happens at IHOP" contest, Scott Reader of Maple Shade, New Jersey, shared his story of teaching a weekly "life skills" class at IHOP to his special needs class, where the students learn to engage in conversation with adults, order from the menu, and pay on their own. When the local IHOP was having problems with migrating geese that wouldn't leave, Scott engaged his students in woodshop class to create wooden dogs that did the trick and scared off the geese. For his entry, Scott won a lifetime supply of free pancakes. More contest entries are featured at www.ihop.com.

This summer, IHOP set off on the Discover America Road Tour, crossing the nation to celebrate two American classics -- pancakes and baseball. An IHOP-branded RV is traveling more than 8,500 miles to visit Minor League Baseball™ parks in 27 cities bringing cheer, games and giveaways. Expressing its roots in Americana, IHOP restaurants are offering nine new state-themed pancake flavors from now through Sept. 7.

For the last 50 years, IHOP franchisees have been proud to give back to the communities in which they do business by supporting a wide range of local and national charities. Earlier this year, IHOP celebrated a banner year for its third annual National Pancake Day, serving more than 1.5 million free buttermilk pancakes and raising a record $875,000 benefiting Children's Miracle Network and other local charities.

Each of these efforts are part of IHOP's ongoing strategy to reenergize the brand over the last five years, including a remodel of all IHOP restaurants set to be complete at the end of next year, a new building prototype, new employee uniforms, the launch of IHOP's branded take-out program, IHOP 'n Go, and an ongoing evolution of the menu to include fresh, craveable items that can be enjoyed at breakfast, lunch and dinner. Celebrating the past 50 years of providing guests a great dining environment, these changes are just the start of IHOP's journey into the next 50 years.

For more information about IHOP or to find a restaurant near you, please visit www.ihop.com.

ABOUT IHOP

For 50 years, the IHOP family restaurant chain has served its world famous pancakes and a wide variety of breakfast, lunch and dinner items that are loved by people of all ages. IHOP offers its guests an affordable, everyday dining experience with warm and friendly service. The first IHOP opened in Toluca Lake, Calif. in 1958, and as of March 31, 2008, there were 1,353 IHOPs in 49 states, Canada and Mexico. IHOP restaurants are franchised and operated by Glendale, Calif.-based IHOP, a subsidiary of DineEquity, Inc. (NYSE: DIN).

Contact Information

  • Contacts:
    Jennifer Pendergrass
    IHOP
    818-637-3603

    Kate Greenberg
    Manning Selvage & Lee
    323-866-6045