IHOP is testing a new prototype design that could bring a completely new look to the family-dining chain, following a recent wave of momentum.
Julia Stewart, chairman and CEO of IHOP parent DineEquity Inc., told The Street on Tuesday that the company is beta testing a new design for IHOP at 28 locations. If results are positive, the company may roll out the new look to franchisees late this year.
“It’s pretty exciting, very modern, yet it still has those elements that you remember from your childhood,” Stewart said, although she declined to offer details.
Photos of the new design were included in an investor presentation the company filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday.
The prototype offers a more comprehensive remodel that goes beyond refresh efforts in recent years, Stewart said.
“This will be more of a major remodel of both the exterior and interior to bring this new IHOP to life — the new, modern IHOP, if you will,” she said.
The effort is part of ongoing improvements at IHOP, which last week reported a 6.1-percent increase in fourth-quarter same-store sales, its strongest quarterly results in more than a decade.
Stewart credited an increase in contributions to the advertising fund by franchisees, which has allowed for a stronger marketing push on both TV and digital channels, as well as menu mix and growing average check.
Last year, IHOP redesigned its menu to make it simpler and easier to navigate. That work will continue this year, with menu rollouts that will include food innovation and line extensions, as well as another rework of the menu design that will include fresh graphics, she said.
On Tuesday, IHOP celebrated its annual National Pancake Day by offering customers a free short stack of buttermilk pancakes. The event is a fundraiser for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. IHOP set the goal of raising $3.5 million this year.
The fully franchised IHOP chain included 1,579 U.S. locations at the end of the fourth quarter.
Contact Lisa Jennings at [email protected].
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