| USA TODAY
Move over short happy hours.
IHOP is introducing “IHOPPY Hour” with prices of meals and snacks that compare to fast-food chains, the company shared exclusively with USA TODAY Monday.
No, alcohol isn’t a part of the new menu that debuts at the majority of restaurants nationwide Monday. At some restaurants, the specials will be available for takeout.
And instead of one or two hours of discounts, IHOPPY Hour is eight hours long, from 2 to 10 p.m. daily with $5 or $6 entrees and $3 snacks and sides. Beverages come in $1 and $1.50 price options.
The Glendale, California-based chain’s first p.m. value menu was in the works before the coronavirus pandemic led restaurants to close dining rooms, IHOP President Jay Johns said in an interview with USA TODAY.
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“We’re famous for breakfast. Everybody knows our world-famous pancakes … but oftentimes people forget about us at other dayparts,” Johns said. “So the last couple of years we’ve been working on our p.m. business.”
In the summer of 2018, the International House of Pancakes, which shortened its name to its initials years earlier, turned the restaurant world upside down – and garnered a whole lot of publicity – when it turned the “P” for Pancakes into a “b” for burgers.
National Coffee Day 2020: Get free coffee, java deals Tuesday at Dunkin’, Starbucks, Panera and more. See the list.
The items on the IHOPPY Hour menu are a mix of breakfast items like the Ham & Cheese Omelette and Italian Cannoli Pancakes and lunch and dinner items like the Classic Steakburger that is served on a Brioche bun with a side of French fries, onion rings or two buttermilk pancakes.
Breakfast time is when restaurants are the busiest, Johns said, especially on the weekend.
“Now that we’ve got the majority of our restaurants are back open again for dining, we think the time is now to go ahead and roll this out,” Johns said. “There is pent up demand for going out and having a meal in restaurants.”
Johns said with high unemployment, it’s also a good time to provide value.
“We created IHOPPY Hour as a way to provide folks with affordable opportunities to pancake together under our blue roof even more often,” he said. “We recognize that these are challenging times, and our belief is that, regardless of what’s going on in the world, we all deserve a little happiness or ‘hoppiness.’”
As of Monday, about 90% of restaurants’ dining rooms across the nation are open, Johns said. There are about 1,800 U.S. locations.
“Not everybody is safe with going out, but the people that are willing to go out, they’re ready to get out of the house,” Johns said. “They have cabin fever right now. They want to get out and as the restrictions are lifted we’re seeing a lot of people heading to restaurants.”
Follow USA TODAY reporter Kelly Tyko on Twitter: @KellyTyko