IHOP is a well-known restaurant chain that serves tasty food almost around the clock.
It’s best known for breakfast – especially pancakes – which isn’t surprising given that the acronym IHOP stands for “International House Of Pancakes.” However, they serve sandwiches, salads, burgers, and other lunch and dinner items as well.
IHOP has operated successfully for about 64 years, since 1958, and people enjoy eating there due to its affordable pricing and friendly environment. But recently, there have been a few noticeable signs of trouble. Some are even wondering, is IHOP closing its doors for good?
However, primarily due to the COVID_19 pandemic, IHOP has closed hundreds of its restaurants’ doors in the last few years, which led to rumors of the entire franchise closing in the future.
The IHOP franchise also filed for bankruptcy in May of 2020, which fueled the flames of these closing rumors.
In this article, we’ll take a deeper look into what’s really going on at one of the bestselling chain diners in the U.S.
So, Is IHOP Actually Closing?
COVID-19 has impacted many indoor establishments, especially restaurants. Restaurants found themselves having to temporarily close down certain branches to ease the spread of the virus, and this necessary move greatly affected their overall bottom line.
Although IHOP is a huge, successful empire, it did not entirely escape from the financial impact of the pandemic. Dine Brand Inc., the parent company, has had to close down over 100 IHOP restaurants across the United States.
This is why there have been rumors about IHOP needing to close down completely.
However, those rumors are unfounded.
Although 100 locations may seem like a lot, and it isn’t a tiny decision even for a big company, there are still a whopping 1,676 IHOP restaurant locations across 52 states and territories and 1,111 cities.
All of that is to say that if you are an IHOP fan, you shouldn’t worry. There is still likely an operating IHOP restaurant near you.
Some of these locations may still be temporarily closed down or have strict social distancing restrictions, as the pandemic is not yet over.
Where Did These Rumors Come From?
Due to the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic had on almost every brick and mortar business, business owners have had to make tough decisions about partly or fully closing down to save operating costs.
IHOP had to do this too, closing down 100 of their locations across the United States.
Not only were people not willing to show up to an in-person location for meals for fear of catching Covid, but the government placed restrictions on indoor dining, stopping regular restaurant-goers in their tracks.
IHOP also chose to file for bankruptcy in 2020 to recover some of the lost revenue.
For these two reasons, many people feared that IHOP was going to close down completely and that the 100 restaurants closed were just the first to go, with others planning to follow suit thereafter.
Will It Close in the Future?
The future of IHOP is promising. IHOP always intended to reopen either the restaurants they closed in 2020 or open new, more financially-feasible restaurants.
IHOP’s president, Jay Johns, even stated, “We’re confident we will eventually replace these severely under-performing restaurants with better performing restaurants.”
The purpose of the 2020 closures was not to gradually begin closing operations altogether but to focus on their key initiatives and close the sales gap that was created due to the pandemic.
So no, IHOP has no plans to close in the future. And the franchise is doing quite well, according to IHOP’s CPO, Greg Bever.
Alternatively, IHOP has an exciting future with plans to open entirely new locations, such as Nassau, Bahamas. This location will be the first IHOP restaurant in the Caribbean.
And before the pandemic, IHOP typically opened up about 40 restaurants per year. But now, they are seeking even more growth, striving to open around 80 restaurants per year by 2023.
Other Restaurant Closings
IHOP is not alone in experiencing financial troubles during the last few years.
Other major restaurant chains like Dunkin’ Donuts, Pizza Hut, Starbucks, and even McDonald’s have taken a huge hit to their bottom line due to having to close down hundreds of restaurants.
In 2020, McDonald’s had to close down 200 of its restaurants. Pizza Hut had to permanently close down 300 of its restaurants, many of which were located within WalMarts, thus affecting two companies at once.
And even coffee shops, where many people take drinks to go, were not immune to the financial ills of the pandemic. For example, the pandemic cost Starbucks over $915 million.
As you can see, the pandemic has not been easy on any restaurant, regardless of the brand or their previous success.
Because of indoor dining restrictions, social distancing, and seating capacity measures, many restaurants have been hit hard financially due to the COVID-19 pandemic. IHOP is undoubtedly one of them, having to close over 100 locations in 2020.
To add to that stress, stores that remained open struggled to run successfully under government safety regulations. Keeping people safe meant less seating, more spread out seating, fewer customers, and ultimately, less revenue.
However, the difficult decisions this franchise had to make have served them well in the long run. IHOP is now on an upward trajectory and will continue to plan new restaurant locations across the country and beyond.
Check out their most popular pancakes and other items for your next visit!