Friday, August 17, 2018
Deals & Shopping

Here’s what the "b" stands for in IHOb’s new (and temporary) name

Thatís it, International House of Pancakes? Thatís the best you can do? You announce last week that you are mysteriously changing your name from IHOP to IHOb, and every pancake eater in the land gets busy.

Sample coy tweet: "Dear Internet, we abbreciate your batience. Now letís see who guessed right. B-hold!!!!! #IHOb"

It must be breakfast, right? Or brunch? No, wait, could it be bacon? Everyone loves bacon. Even Chiquita got into the speculation: could totes be bananas, IHOP moves a whole lot of bananas, and International House of Bananas has a jaunty ring to it.

And then today, the big reveal.

The "b" stands for Ö burgers?

Itís really just a promotion, not permanent. Only some of the 1,800 stores are changing out their signs (the "ob" portion looking disconcertingly like the logo for the tampon brand.) And itís not a pancake-ectomy; the menu isnít excising breakfast standbys to make way for hamburgers. But with the rebranding, they are releasing seven "Ultimate Steakburgers," an effort to attract new customers and to make this 1958 long-timer an all-day affair, as is its younger sibling Applebeeís (both are owned by Dine Brands).

This pancake flap fell flat.

Yes, a restaurant known for breakfast has a hard time filling seats for lunch and dinner. And yes again, burgers are the countryís most-consumed restaurant entree (for the record, IHOP has always offered burgers, just never with a logo-worthy emphasis).

But the burger stuff is a red herring.

This is about the changing role of pancakes in our lives. When was the last time you saw a Little League pancake breakfast? Paleo dieters, keto proponents, gluten-free-ers and carbophobes have all contributed to the irrelevance of pancakes. Even up-with-carbs folks donít feel like a short stack every day. Itís a once-in-a-while indulgence at best, especially when doused in IHOPís signature butter pecan syrup (containing neither butter nor pecans but a whole lot of high fructose corn syrup).

And Iím going to say it. Millennials have killed napkins, bars of soap, golf and fabric softener. They are now gunning for pancakes. They like bougie flapjacks (lemon ricotta, yada yada), but when was the last time you saw a young adult march into IHOP and demand a Rooty Tooty Fresh ín Fruity?

To be fair, the marching seems like just as big a problem as the pancakes for millennials and Gen Z. Young diners are abandoning traditional casual chains, many of which have experienced recent declines in foot traffic (both Applebeeís and IHOP have announced plans to shutter a number of stores this year). Young consumers want mobile apps, delivery and takeout.

Have you ever had pancakes delivered? Donít.

IHOP has diligently invented a special pancake to-go box thatís vented and keeps accompaniments in a separate compartment so the flapjacks donít get gushy. But you know what travels just fine, either via UberEats or crammed into the footwell of the family Camry? Hamburgers. In IHOP, er, IHObís case, this might be a mushroom swiss or a Mega Monster (two patties, two slices of cheese, pickles, etc.), starting at $6.99.

It may only be one letter, and it may only be temporary, the long tail of the "p" becoming the crown of a "b." But itís flipping an American institution upside-down (think about it: the I, H and O are the same upside-down and right-side-up). At least for lots of Internet users on Monday, it didnít stack up. IHOP without pancakes front and center? That "b" is actually for betrayal.

Contact Laura Reiley at
[email protected] or
(727) 892-2293. Follow @lreiley.

Comments
Find locally made goods and funky gifts at The Merchant and get style advice at International Plaza

Find locally made goods and funky gifts at The Merchant and get style advice at International Plaza

NEW SHOP SPOTLIGHT: THE MERCHANTLovers of locally made goods and fun gift items will be delighted to know a new shop specializing in those has opened on the 600 block of St. Pete's Central Avenue, in the former Strands of Sunshine. The Merchant has a...
Published: 08/16/18
5 things to do under $5: Duck Race, pet adoption drive, Reel Western Movie Series

5 things to do under $5: Duck Race, pet adoption drive, Reel Western Movie Series

1 Incredible Duck Race: The Hillsborough River will be awash in yellow when the Kiwanis Club of Tampa lets loose some 10,000 rubber duckies to "race" and win their adoptive parents cash prizes. The first-place duck gets $5,000, second place is $1,000...
Published: 08/15/18
Busch Gardens, SeaWorld holding flash sale this week with BOGO admission

Busch Gardens, SeaWorld holding flash sale this week with BOGO admission

Busch Gardens and its sister park SeaWorld are having a flash sale this week that can save you more than $50 on admission tickets, but the offers expire Sunday. Calling it a BOGO Back to School sale, Busch Gardens announced Tuesday you can buy one s...
Published: 08/15/18
Collect vinyl, CDs and other goodies at Daddy Koolís 50 Cent Sidewalk Sale and more shopping deals

Collect vinyl, CDs and other goodies at Daddy Koolís 50 Cent Sidewalk Sale and more shopping deals

GIVE BACK: ART FOR TEACHERSTeachers, especially art teachers, notoriously buy their own supplies, so why not help out local teachers and donate some art supplies? The supplies will go to the Nomad Art Bus, a wonderful organization in the form of a co...
Published: 08/09/18
More than 100 shooting stars expected in weekendís Perseid meteor shower peak

More than 100 shooting stars expected in weekendís Perseid meteor shower peak

This weekend is a good time to catch the annual summer light show known as the Perseid meteor shower.Some 60 to 100 meteors ó better known as shooting stars ó can be seen per hour as the Earth encounters the gritty debris of Comet Swift-Tuttle, the i...
Published: 08/09/18
To drink fine bourbon on a budget, hunt Ďunicornsí

To drink fine bourbon on a budget, hunt Ďunicornsí

For more than year, I have chased unicorns.Iíve searched the Tampa Bay area. Iíve hunted in Baltimore, Denver, Detroit, Cleveland andLas Vegas. Iíve walked through dozens of doors, but I often strike out.Iím not chasing mythical creatures. My unicorn...
Published: 08/09/18
Tax-free weekend is here, and so is a sneaker convention

Tax-free weekend is here, and so is a sneaker convention

BACK TO SCHOOL:  TAX-FREE WEEKENDBefore the first bell rings, Florida residents have a chance to do their back-to-school shopping during the annual tax-free weekend Friday to Sunday.And corporate retailers in the Tampa Bay area are gearing up fo...
Published: 08/02/18
Updated: 08/03/18
At Tessera of Brandon, seniors are all about organic food, goat yoga and living

At Tessera of Brandon, seniors are all about organic food, goat yoga and living

BRANDON ó Virginia Geisler, 84, sat in a patio chair, her two Tennessee beefsteak tomatoes tied off tightly in a plastic bag. She would make tomato sandwiches with them, using the lettuce she grows in a planter box outside her unit at Tessera of Bran...
Updated one month ago
Christmas in July in Seminole Heights and the Prego Expo returns

Christmas in July in Seminole Heights and the Prego Expo returns

SEMINOLE HEIGHTS: CHRISTMAS IN JULYNotice all the Christmas in July events the online retailers and big box stores are having this month? Well, what's good for them is great for small businesses, so a bunch of shops in Seminole Heights are having the...
Updated one month ago
Let's go shopping: How do Tampa Bay's smaller, specialty grocery stores compare?

Let's go shopping: How do Tampa Bay's smaller, specialty grocery stores compare?

We set out to compare some of the newest chains or the specialty stores that have expanded in recent years. Let's go shopping, shall we?
Updated one month ago