Update, May 20, 2021: Back in December 2019, IHOP had big plans. It was going to open Flip’d, an urban fast casual concept that featured all the assembly-line efficiency and digital-ordering modernism of Sweetgreen, but applied to bowls layered with pancakes, eggs, and bacon. (And fruit. There’s fruit involved.) The first Flip’d was set to open in spring 2020, per the initial press release. You can imagine why it didn’t.
Now, though, IHOP is feeling optimistic. According to a press release sent to The Takeout, the first Flip’d location will open in New York City this July, and three additional locations will open later this year in Dublin, Ohio; Columbus, Ohio; and Lawrence, Kansas. Notably, the original concept was limited to major metropolitan areas, but is now focused on spreading outward to a greater customer base. It’s reasonable to assume that everyone could use some pancakes right about now.
“Since we originally announced flip’d in 2019, a lot has changed,” said IHOP president Jay Johns in the press release. “While we know there is a pent-up demand for a return to dining in restaurants, we anticipate that our delivery and takeout business is here to stay as consumer needs continue to shift and they seek out different ways to experience IHOP favorites.”
So, would you describe yourself as someone “seeking out different ways to experience IHOP favorites”? Are you likely to patronize this on-the-go pancake concept? Do midday build-your-own signature pancake bowls sound like something you’ll integrate into your weekday routine? Let us know in the comments.
Original post, December 11, 2019: We’ve all been there: living our busy, urban lives, simply trying to have it all, with only a few minutes to squeeze in a quick lunch between our important business meetings. We scroll through the lackluster options on our food delivery app, and think to ourselves: “I want food that’s made efficiently. I want something I can eat on-the-go. And, above all, what I really want is something called a Pancake Bowl.” Well, finally, the future will finally arrive sometime this spring.
The International House of Pancakes is rolling out a fast-casual restaurant called Flip’d by IHOP. (No, unfortunately it’s not called the International Fast-Casual Restaurant of Pancakes [IFCOP].) And yes, they’re selling something called Pancake Bowls. It appears that the ubiquitous chain is trying to become the Chipotle of all-day breakfast.
Currently, the only confirmed Flip’d by IHOP location will be in Atlanta, but IHOP is exploring sites in New York, D.C., Denver, Chicago, and San Francisco. The new chain is intended for busy folks in dense cities. There’s no waitstaff, and food can be ordered by digital kiosk or through an assembly line, à la Chipotle or Sweetgreen. Except instead of concocting whatever combination of salad bedding and veggies they’d like, customers will be assembling bowls of pancakes, fruit, bacon, cheese, and eggs. (Yikes.) They can also order made-to-order breakfast burritos, grab-and-go salads, or popular items from the IHOP menu, such as the Ultimate Steakburger.
The idea makes sense, I guess. I mean, who’s going to go for a sit-down breakfast at an IHOP in the morning before work? Or during work? But to me, pancakes are a sacred meal reserved for weekends in sweatpants, often with a light hangover. They’re not to be eaten in a rush. But I have a terrifying feeling America’s going to disagree with me on that one.