IHOP Becomes IHOb And The Internet Can’t Get Enough
The International House of Pancakes just declared, on Twitter of course, a momentous name change. From the iconic IHOP to the puzzling, head-scratching IHOB or International House of Burgers! It may not roll off the tongue as pleasantly as IHOP, but there’s a reason for the change. It seems the chain wants to promote its lunch and dinner hours with the addition of seven “Ultimate Steakburgers”—from the Classic and Mega Monster, to the Big Brunch (with fried egg, bacon, crispy potato, and cheese!) and Jalapeño Kick. It’s a bold gamble for a 60-year-old chain that pretty much owns the breakfast category in the United States to enter the crowded burger segment with its Hunger Games-like competition.
So how does the IHOb burger stack up against the ones from McDonald’s, Burger King, or Wendy’s? Apparently, these burger giants aren’t worried and have responded, in the most social media-savvy way, by trolling IHOP (or IHOb) on Twitter, case in point:
Remember when you were like 7 and thought changing your name to Thunder BearSword would be super cool?— Wendy's (@Wendys) June 11, 2018
Like that, but our cheeseburgers are still better.
Even IHOP competitor Denny’s couldn’t help but join the fray:
??: Grandpa, do you remember the Great Burger Wars?— Denny's (@DennysDiner) June 11, 2018
??: lol no I was chillin drinkin milkshakes and trying to make sense of Westworld
While IHOP vs. IHOb has been trending this week, little did most of us realize that IHOP Philippines has quietly shut down all of its local branches. Remember the long lines that formed outside its first branch in Bonifacio Global City back in 2013? Soon after, local franchisor Global Restaurant Concepts, Inc. (that also brought in California Pizza Kitchen and Applebee’s) opened several more branches of IHOP around Metro Manila in quick succession. Unfortunately, they weren’t able to recreate the initial success of the first branch. Blame the high prices or the crowded breakfast category, Manila’s fickle diners weren’t hankering enough for IHOP’s pancakes, waffles, and breakfast platters to keep it in business.
While we don’t think we’ll get to sample IHOb burgers any time soon here in Manila, this name change has been met with bemusement, doubt, and even derision by netizens questioning the move. But in today’s digital-centric world, maybe the point is not to create a positive image of one’s brand (too old school!), but to simply break through the social media tangle and get one’s brand trending, even for just a few days. That’s the way the marketing game is played these days. And guess what, the IHOb name is only temporary. IHOb turns back to IHOP sooner than you’d think. They’ll be serving their pancakes and waffles as usual, as we move on to the next trending topic for the day.