IHOP has revealed why it changed its name to IHOb, and it represents a massive new strategy for the chain

Matt Weinberger/Business InsiderThe sign is pretty clear.
  • IHOP said on Monday that it changed its name to IHOb to promote the debut of its new burgers.
  • The International House of Pancakes’ transformation into the International House of Burgers is not permanent, and it will continue to serve pancakes as well.
  • The “IHOb” campaign is a new strategy to bring people craving something other than pancakes to the chain as it doubles down on culinary innovation.

IHOP has finally revealed the reason behind its seemingly baffling name change.

Last week, IHOP – officially the International House of Pancakes – announced it was changing its name to “IHOb,” flipping the “P” to a “B.” The decision immediately set off waves of speculation about what the “B” could stand for.

On Monday, IHOP said the “B” stood for burgers, confirming a report from Business Insider’s Matt Weinberger, who had spotted signs promoting burgers at a location in Daly City, California.

The message behind the IHOb madness is the launch of the chain’s Ultimate Steakburgers, a seven-burger lineup that includes options like the Big Brunch Burger, the Cowboy BBQ Burger, and the double-decker Mega Monster Burger. For a limited time, the burgers are available at IHOP locations with unlimited fries and a drink starting at $US6.99.

In addition to transforming into IHOb on Twitter, the chain changed its name and signage at its flagship location to celebrate the Ultimate Steakburgers. IHOP is also running a national IHOb ad campaign to promote the launch.

The change to IHOb won’t be permanent – the chain said in a press release that it was just “for the time being.” However, IHOb still represents a major shift for the International House of Pancakes.

IHOP All You Can Eat Pancakes 17Hollis Johnson

IHOP, along with its sister brand Applebee’s, is undergoing a revamp as the chains attempt to reengage with diners and bring in more customers. Part of the plan to boost traffic is giving customers new options outside of pancakes and breakfast food more generally.

“Everyone knows that IHOP makes world-famous pancakes, so we felt like the best way to convince them that we are as serious about our new line of Ultimate Steakburgers as we are about our pancakes was to change our name to IHOb,” Brad Haley, the chain’s CMO, said in a statement.

During a call with analysts last month, executives from IHOP’s parent company, Dine Brands, highlighted an emphasis on menu innovation as a strategy to boost traffic. IHOP has long been known primarily for its pancakes – something that can create issues for the chain while it’s trying to compete with others known for greater menu variety.

While IHOP is best known for its breakfast food, the chain is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

In his scoop about IHOb’s meaning, Weinberger wrote of his hesitation to try the burgers, revealing why IHOP might want to change its name to IHOb, at least temporarily.

“In case you were wondering, I didn’t get one of the new burgers,” he said. “I’ve spent my entire life silently judging people who don’t order pancakes at IHOP, and I don’t intend to stop now.”

The chain’s goal is to change the minds of people like Weinberger. For the IHOb name change to be successful, IHOP needs to persuade customers to visit more often – not only when they’re craving pancakes.

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