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IHOP offers kids-eat-free deal for tax season

IHOP said it is bringing back its month-long Kids Eat Free promotion hoping to appeal to parents who want to save money during tax season and cut back on their kids’ calorie consumption.

Calling it a “double deduction,” IHOP said participating locations in the chain are inviting kids under 12 to eat off the “Just For Kids” menu for free with the purchase of an adult entrée from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. each day throughout April.

The promotion was offered last year, in conjunction with tax season, and IHOP officials said the promotion had a positive effect on sales and traffic.

“It has resonated in that 4-to-10 p.m. time frame when we’re looking to drive dinner business,” said Jennifer Pendergrass, IHOP’s manager of communications.

Pendergrass said this year’s promotion is different in that it also emphasizes the healthful qualities of the “Just For Kids” menu, which IHOP revamped in September. All 14 dishes on the kids’ menu now contain fewer than 600 calories each, including a cheeseburger, macaroni and cheese, a Create-A-Face pancake, crispy chicken strips and grilled cheese.

“Not only do you get the free kids meal with an adult entrée, but families know they are making a healthy choice for their children,” Pendergrass said.

Over the past two years, IHOP also has offered a kids-eat-free promotion in August with a back-to-school theme. Also beneficial in boosting sales and traffic was a Halloween-related free “Scary Face” pancake for kids, Pendergrass said.

However, an all-you-can-eat pancake promotion in January and February this year did not resonate with guests, Julia Stewart, chief executive of parent company DineEquity Inc., said in a recent earnings call.

Glendale, Calif.-based DineEquity operates or franchises 1,504 IHOP locations worldwide. The company also owns the more than 2,000-unit Applebee’s casual-dining brand.

Contact Lisa Jennings at [email protected].

TAGS: Menu Marketing
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