• Transform magazine
  • November 14, 2018

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IHOP publicity stunt quadruples sales

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IHOP, the American multinational diner-style restaurant specialising in breakfast foods, made headlines recently by changing its name from IHOP to IHOb; ‘B’ standing for ‘burger.’ Although promoted as a permanent change, Stephen Joyce, CEO of IHOP, has come forth and confirmed this change as a temporary publicity strategy.

The publicity stunt was set in place in order to promote IHOP’s new line of steak burgers and create a brand association beyond breakfast. This approach was commercially successful. “We quadrupled the number of burgers we were selling and that’s continuing. And both lunch and dinner part sales went up significantly. So for us it was great,” says Joyce. 

IHOP has started to advertise more of it’s savoury items, including the burgers, which has been part of the menu since opening the chain’s first location in 1958. IHOP has seen a decline in Millennial consumers. A shift in restaurant trends is evident as more Millennials seek large quantities for cheap and abundant flavours. IHOP did consumer research in order to understand what kind of burger is most desired by consumers, in preparation for this publicity stunt. Consequently the Angus burger was chosen including a variety of different flavour profiles. Joyce says the ruse helped boost both sales and traffic during lunch and dinner hours, expanding the restaurant’s reputation from being a breakfast joint to a savoury food purveyor as well. 

Although the restaurant industry has seen a 1.5% increase in same-store sales in April. It is struggling to grow due to high levels of competition, according to a May report from TDn2K’s Black Box Intelligence, a source of private and public company data. With technology and home delivery becoming a common occurrence in the last five years, a separate NPD Group report in May also showed restaurant visits overall have flatlined or declined. 

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