Today is not only Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday; it’s also National Pancake Day, when IHOP customers are normally treated to a free short stack of the family-dining chain’s buttermilk pancakes.
But this year, realizing that a global pandemic is no time to invite throngs of people into its more than 1,600 restaurants looking for free food, the chain is postponing the offer, and instead giving customers an IOU that can be redeemed any time in April.
The move by IHOP, a subsidiary of Dine Brands Global Inc. based Glendale, Calif., is not only a safety measure, but also a move to bring more members into its loyalty program.
Existing members of the MyHOP email club, and those who sign up by March 31, 2021, are automatically given the IOU coupon, which can be redeemed in restaurants or online via the chain’s web site, IHOP.com, or its mobile app.
Non-members can get a short stack at no extra charge with a minimum $10 purchase in restaurants or online.
IHOP is also using the occasion to raise funds for charity by encouraging guests to make donations on their checks, online or in restaurants to the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, its national charity partner, as well as local charities including Shriners Hospitals for Children and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
“At IHOP, our top priority is the safety of our guests and team members,” IHOP president Jay Johns said in a press release announcing the offer. “Given nothing about this past year has been ordinary – and while we look forward to celebrating National Pancake Day with guests under our blue roof in the future – we recognize it’s not possible to gather millions of our closest family and friends in our restaurants on a single day this year. As a result, we decided to flip National Pancake Day on its head and give our guests an entire month to redeem their free Short Stack with an IOU, while also continuing to put purpose behind our pancakes by giving back to those most in need: our charity partners.”
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