IHOP Is Finally Opening Its Fast-Casual Concept
In late 2019, IHOP announced that it would soon be opening a single Flip'd restaurant in Atlanta, the first of its proposed fast-casual concept that would take what people love about the original IHOP—like its buttermilk pancakes, obviously—and adapt it for city centers. In addition to dining in, the company said, Flip'd customers could also place advance orders for easy pickup, have their IHOP-esque faves delivered, or get one of its grab-and-go pastries, salads, and wraps.
The first Flip'd was supposed to open in Atlanta in April 2020, and the company had plans to expand into Denver, New York City, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. later in the year. Obviously that didn't happen (you know why) but after a year-long delay, Flip'd is back on the menu, so to speak.
On Thursday, IHOP said that the first Flip'd restaurant is absolutely going to open in New York City in July, and that will be followed by restaurants in Columbus, Ohio, Dublin, Ohio, and Lawrence, Kansas. It has shifted its strategy a bit; instead of focusing on cities, the company says it's "piloting the Flip'd concept in [...] larger metropolitan areas, suburban areas, and non-traditional venues." (Dublin is also where Wendy's is headquartered, in case you want to mention that in conversation this weekend.)
"Since we originally announced Flip'd in 2019, a lot has changed," IHOP President Jay Johns said. "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. With Flip'd, we can provide that on-the-go fast casual experience, making now the perfect time to bring this concept into the world."
What hasn't changed is the general idea for Flip'd: customers can still place their orders from a digital kiosk in the restaurant or directly at the counter. Advance online ordering and delivery are still available, as are the premade grab-and-go options. The rest of the menu is as breakfast-heavy as you'd expect, with customizable Pancake Bowls and Build-Your-Own breakfast bowls, and egg combos and assorted AM-centric sandwiches.
Although the breakfast menu is available all-day—another carryover from the OG IHOPs—the menu also includes burritos and burrito bowls, chicken sandwiches (because everyone has to have a chicken sandwich now), and Angus steak burgers. The beverage options include coffee and OJ, along with nitro cold brews and "specialty espresso" drinks, the kind that are usually topped with generous amounts of whipped cream.
"Today, millions of Americans are settling for sub-par breakfast foods that are either microwaved or have been sitting under a heat lamp because they're forced to grab something while at their usual coffee spot," Johns said in 2019. "With Flip'd by IHOP, guests don't have to compromise—now they can get freshly-made, all-day menu items [...] for a good price and in a matter of minutes."
Despite the year-long delay and a different trio of potential locations, at least that part—the fast n' tasty food part—hasn't changed.