IHOP said to be bringing back the A-frame

GLENDALE Calif. IHOP is reverting to its A-frame building as a point of distinction, according to a designer for the family restaurant chain.

The retro-style has already been adopted by units in Cincinnati, Ohio, and is now being used for newly constructed IHOPs nationwide, said Barb Churchill, a founder and partner with Bath, Ohio-based Louis & Partners Design.

The design, with its steeply slanting roof lines, is immediately recognizable to patrons new and old, said Churchill. IHOP's blue-roofed A-frame buildings were a signature during the chain's nationwide expansion from its California roots. It later switched to a more contemporary, squarer look, which coincided with the replacement of its International House of Pancakes name with the IHOP identity.

Churchill said that many landlords had resisted the A-frames in the past because not all businesses are adaptable to that footprint. If the restaurant failed, she explained, some landlords feared they'd be limited to another restaurant as a possible lessee.

Franchisees operate nearly all of the 1,319 IHOPs that are currently open.