Last year, famous all-American pancake purveyors IHOP caused something of a stir with one of the most ill-judged rebrands in fast food history. In what was later discovered to be a poorly executed hoax, the business swapped their “P” for a “B”, becoming, for a time, “International House Of Burgers”. It went down, predictably, like a lead balloon.
However, despite general bewilderment from the public, the fast food franchise seem more determined than ever to shoe-horn burgers into their business model by any means necessary. Their latest cunning plan involves not a name change, but stuffing the iconic hamburger with a pancake. Maybe they should have stuck with IHOB.
The sandwich in question, which has understandably provoked a response online, is equal parts unnatural and intriguing, like an alien that’s tried to shape-shift into something from planet earth but got it slightly wrong. Christened the “Big IHOP Pancake”, it utilises a savoury cheddar pancake as a Big Mac-style bun wedge between two beef patties, before adding American cheese, bacon and mysteriously dubbed “IHOP Sauce”.
In an interview with Insider, IHOP's president, Darren Rebelez, revealed that the pancake-burger combination was something that the company had been working on for some time. Even before the brand relaunched its burger line last year, Rebelez claims that "People kept asking us, 'When are you going to have a burger with pancakes?'" With this and the previous history of burger flirtation, this hybrid seems almost inevitable.
The Big IHOP Pancake isn’t the only new item being confusingly labelled. The chain have also announced the Garlic Butter “Pancake” and the Loaded Philly “Pancake”, upping their allotment to three new definitely-not-pancakes. Elaborating on their odd naming system, the company said, “Last year, IHOP introduced the award-winning IHOb — for burgers — advertising campaign and the Internet had a lot to say about it. It told IHOP to stay in their lane. To stick to pancakes. So, this year, IHOP is taking the Internet’s advice by calling their new Steakburgers ‘Pancakes.’” Whether or not they get away with it this time remains to be seen.
Just as with many new innovations, the public have been initially unsure how to respond. Judging by the unpredictable barometer of social media, comments have ranged from the wildly enthusiastic to the outright horrified. Some declared the announcement the “Best. News. Ever”, and stated, “American eaters have a double win.” Others said, “absolutely disgusting. Would rather gnaw on a t-shirt”, and simply “Capitalism has gone too far.” Time will ultimately tell whether the new item is a success. But, if their record is anything to go by, IHOP seem pretty determined to make it so.