In a move that both emphasized IHOP’s command of breakfast and invited guests to visit at different times of day, the family-dining chain rolled out a line of burritos and bowls in January 2021.
Six varieties were offered:
The Classic: Scrambled eggs, choice of bacon pieces or diced sausage, shredded Jack and cheddar cheeses and hash browns, served with a side of salsa
Country Breakfast: Scrambled eggs, diced ham and sausage, roasted peppers and onions, shredded Jack and cheddar cheese and hash browns, served with a side of country gravy
Spicy Poblano: Shredded beef, scrambled eggs, poblano and serrano peppers, red peppers and onions, shredded jack and cheddar cheeses, avocado and hash browns, served with a side of poblano queso
Southwest Chicken: Grilled chicken, scrambled eggs, bacon pieces, green peppers and onions, tomatoes, queso, shredded Jack and cheddar cheeses and avocado and hash, served with a side of red salsa or green chile salsa
New Mexico Chicken: Grilled chicken, hickory-smoked bacon pieces, roasted green peppers and onions, tomatoes, queso, shredded Jack and cheddar cheese, avocado and a “rice medley” comprised of brown rice, red rice and black barley, served with a side of red salsa or green chile salsa
Spicy Shredded Beef burrito or bowl: Shredded beef, poblano and serrano peppers, roasted red peppers and onions, shredded Jack and cheddar cheeses, avocado and rice, served with a side of poblano queso
As with all of IHOP’s scrambled eggs, the ones in the burritos are made with a little buttermilk pancake batter for added fluffiness. The egg-filled burritos and bowls — made the same as burritos but without the flour tortillas — are intended for breakfast, and were an important addition to that daypart, while the eggless ones were the chain’s latest attempt to expand to the lunch and dinner dayparts.
“We’ve taken something that’s really, really on trend — breakfast burritos — but then we added on burritos and bowls for dinner, so we can cover all dayparts,” vice president of culinary Scott Randolph told Nation’s Restaurant News in a podcast shortly after the items’ launch.
Randolph said the new line also gave IHOP license to offer spicy items, which are also on-trend.
“So when we did the Spicy Poblano Bowl, we’re actually buying local serrano peppers, so we can’t control the heat … but if you’re a spicy eater, that’s part of the thrill,” he said.
As part of the rollout, IHOP also revamped its salsa, previously available with eggs, to be a smoother “rojo” style with roasted vegetables in it.
Additionally, Randolph said that burritos are expected to have a variety of components so that no bite is exactly the same — you might get more chile in one bite and more sour cream in another, for example. That’s very different from the consistency that’s expected from IHOP’s bacon, eggs and pancakes.
“Every bite is a little bit of a different experience and that’s what we wanted to make sure we were capturing,” he said. “It is a different way of thinking, as far as development goes, than anything we’ve ever done.”
And for people with more conservative palates, the bowls let guests pick and choose what they want in each bite.
Burritos are, of course, traditionally street food, so to help create the same effect, the chicken, which is cut into breast strips by IHOP’s suppliers, is cooked to order on the flattop with other ingredients and further chopped up with a spatula and mixed with the vegetables on the griddle to create a more natural effect.
Randolph said he sees plenty of room for expansion with this platform.
“It’s almost like a new canvass that we created,” he said.
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