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Wednesday
Apr032019

IHOP

IHOP is well established as the largest player in the $1B+ family chain segment with 28% market share and the largest marketing budget in segment. While the brand enjoys a breakfast heritage leadership positioning particularly around world famous, flipped fresh pancakes, IHOP seeks to expand to “all things breakfast, any time of the day” and beyond this, to lunch & dinner with its recent and significant push into burgers, including a very successful 2018 media event in which IHOP pretended to rebrand as IHOb (burgers). To this end, increased investments in research and consumer insight leads marketing & promotions which drives ample buzz worthy innovation (like its Pancizzas promotion which generated 1B digital impressions) that helps break through the clutter. Also, IHOP N’ GO online ordering platform benefits from the concept's 24-hour accessibility and has helped drive impressive growth in off-premise traffic & check with plenty of runway left. The chain's strength in social media and its online ordering platform plays well to the brand's younger demo (51% of guests are 34 or younger). Taken together, improved marketing & innovation, service, daypart expansion, off-premise and remodeling has helped generate positive comps in 2018 after 2 years of decline. In any case, we suggest that an everyday value platform could drive even stronger comp growth and a lean into value is possible given food costs that strongly outperform the segment average, reflecting a large mix of high margin pancakes. In conclusion, we like IHOP's strategy, improvements and execution and believe things could only get better if the chain is able to address everyday value in a margin friendly way given the current operating environment.

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