IHOP, Applebee's see bump in 1st-Q comps

GLENDALE Calif. IHOP Corp., parent to the IHOP family-dining and the Applebee’s casual-dining brands, said Thursday that same-store sales rose at both chains for the first quarter ended March 31, driven by limited-time offers and menu price increases. However, the company also reported that guest traffic at IHOP remained flat from a year ago and continued to decline at Applebee’s.

For the first quarter of the year, systemwide same-store sales rose 3.7 percent at IHOP and rose 0.5 percent at Applebee’s domestic locations. It was Applebee’s first positive quarterly same-store sales result in two years, the company said.

At the IHOP chain, which includes about 1,353 locations, sales were driven by the All You Can Eat Pancakes and Shortcake Pancakes limited-time offers, the chain’s annual National Pancake Day, and the brand’s marketing tie-in with the movie “Horton Hears a Who.”

At Applebee’s, which has 1,986 units, primary sales drivers included a 3-percent menu price increase at corporate restaurants, a holiday gift card program and the promotion of the Three-Course Classics and Ultimate Trios menu offers.

IHOP said it would release full first-quarter results on April 28.