IHOP's burger sales quadrupled after its controversial IHOb name change

  • IHOP's burger sales quadrupled after the chain, the International House of Pancakes, temporarily changed its name to IHOb, the International House of Burgers.
  • The promotion was a "huge success," according to IHOP executives. 
  • "Literally everybody in the world now knows that IHOP is now selling burgers," IHOP's president, Darren Rebelez, told Business Insider. 

 

IHOP's decision to temporarily change its name to IHOb had an explosive impact on social media. But, many wondered if it would actually help the chain's sales — or if it could even damage IHOP's pancake-centric brand. 

On Wednesday, IHOP reported its sales for the quarter and officially declared the IHOb promotion a success. IHOP's comparable same-restaurant sales increased 0.7% in the most recent quarter.

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Brands roast IHOP over IHOb rebrand
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Brands roast IHOP over IHOb rebrand
You probably already knew that. https://t.co/m0DXwUk9h8
@soIoucity @IHOb Not really afraid of the burgers from a place that decided pancakes were too hard.
Remember when you were like 7 and thought changing your name to Thunder BearSword would be super cool? Like that,… https://t.co/MxWDprRowz
👦: Grandpa, do you remember the Great Burger Wars? 👴: lol no I was chillin drinkin milkshakes and trying to make sense of Westworld
Eat a Butterfinger with your burger.
Inspired by the International House of Burgers announcement, we are also changing our name (Please do not ask what… https://t.co/dUZ2yoPWMZ
We've worked really hard for like 100 years to get people to remember our brand name so if it's cool with everyone… https://t.co/cYMqbByUv2
@IHOb We don't usually throw shade, but seriously? That's what all that was about? Here's a real burger for you.… https://t.co/k9a8060gUq
bocket like it's hot https://t.co/lwroiI3iVB
brb changing my name to Netflib
We’re as serious about pancakes as @IHOb is about burgers https://t.co/IQ7J2TX47T
@JoelDeb No worries here...
BURGER KING CHANGED THEIR TWITTER NAME TO PANCAKE KING LMAO THE SHADE https://t.co/jdgq6svIDe
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More importantly in terms of the International House of Burgers, hamburger sales quadrupled following the promotion, contributing to a significant lift in lunch and dinner sales. 

"We think it was a huge success," IHOP President Darren Rebelez told Business Insider. 

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IHOP is changing its name to IHOb
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IHOP is changing its name to IHOb
For 60 pancakin’ years, we’ve been IHOP. Now, we’re flippin’ our name to IHOb. Find out what it could b on 6.11.18.… https://t.co/GOsDMkDTza
@IHOP is changing its name to #IHOB, what do you think the B stands for?
They weren’t playing. #ihop ➡️ #ihob https://t.co/ZTySiRM7DH
IHOP says it's changing its name to IHOb https://t.co/OMvnRKOUhq https://t.co/4IgRjsHTZH
IHOP is changing its name to IHOb — I visited the restaurant and saw a big hint that the 'b' stands for 'burgers'… https://t.co/PcwefkBNf3
IHOP tweet hints at changing name to 'IHOb' starting June 11 https://t.co/Zhteyxs1E8 https://t.co/4rLwRzqfgb
Interesting. If you hold @IHOP card upside down and into a mirror it’s spells #IHOb hmmmmmm.... @foxandfriends https://t.co/UsBCE0Eeqe
IHOP vs IHOB https://t.co/Icngs7tUpd
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IHOP's "word of mouth" score skyrocketed following the name change, according to YouGov BrandIndex data, reaching its highest levels since late 2012. According to the company, the name change inspired roughly 20,000 news articles and 36 billion social-media impressions.

"I was asking people, has anyone seen anything bigger than this?" Steve Joyce, the CEO of IHOP parent company Dine Brands, said. 

"Literally everybody in the world now knows that IHOP is now selling burgers," Rebelez said. "That was goal No. 1. Goal No. 2 was to actually sell them." 

Rebelez says lunch and dinner sales have "taken off" with the promotion, in a way that IHOP had struggled to manage before the name change. Breakfast sales were roughly flat during the promotion, according to Joyce, who added that they have "rebalanced" now that IHOP has returned to its original name. 

IHOP will continue to sell both burgers and pancakes in the aftermath of IHOb, and it will market itself as a breakfast-centric chain. If nothing else, executives say, the IHOb name change both informed customers that the chain serves burgers and revealed how passionately people feel about IHOP's pancakes. 

"When we said we were going to flip the B back to a P, we got a lot of positive sentiment and a lot of people saying, 'Ah thank God, you're back to breakfast again,'" Rebelez said. "But, the burger sales have continued."

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