I’m not sure why IHOP always ends up being one of those acceptable targets of ridicule on this site (Ok, I do- it’s because of the two failed attempts that IHOP has made to establish itself in my hometown.).  First, they changed their name to International House of Burgers for, like, a week.  For some reason.  Then, they tried to get into the fast-casual game, which honestly could have had potential if COVID-19 hadn’t come along and shut down the restaurant industry. Then, a few days ago they pulled an absolutely batshit insane stunt where they posted a Tweet thread that was just… their whole menu, splayed out for all to see. 

Was some unpaid intern not meeting their quotas and said, “Fuck it, I’ll tweet the whole fucking menu, one item at a time?”  Is this some sort of Andy Kaufman-esque joke? Am I allowed to laugh? 

That wasn’t even what I originally planned on discussing here.  I just happened to notice it while looking into the real topic at hand and thought, “Oh of course they did that.”  

The real show stopper? They’re trying their hand at cereal.

Aside from that tweet on April 30, the only other acknowledgement of the pancake cereal is this tweet, which in of itself is just a repost of someone else’s TikTok and would have been confusing as hell for the hour and a half in between that tweet and the “official announcement.”

This is another instance where I have to admit, I’m not as hip with the kids as I think I am.  Apparently, making mini pancakes and eating them like a bowl of cereal has been another one of the latest TikTok trends.

I doubt that IHOP developed this cereal solely because of this trend, though.  It seems most likely that it was something that they already had in the works, then found out about this trend and decided to make this pseudo-announcement to capitalize on it.  And I say pseudo-announcement because so far, all we have is that render of the box.  No photographs of the cereal itself, no release date, nothing. Just a “stay tuned for more.”  I’m almost willing to bet that that’s pretty much all they got, but they just really wanted to get this out there while it was still trendy.

For a less-cynical-but-still-pretty-cynical take, it’s also possible that the development of Panflakes! during the upswing of this trend could be entirely coincidental.  Before I found out about this trend, my original theory was that IHOP sales are probably suffering right now- moreso than other restaurants, as many breakfast foods (especially eggs) don’t mix well with delivery- so they were looking for a better way to give people the IHOP experience in the comfort of their own homes. This rushed announcement could have been just their way of desperately reminding people that they exist.   Like with many of my theories, the truth is probably somewhere in the middle.

Some other points of contention that are neither here nor there are that there doesn’t seem to be any cereal brand associated with this product yet (entirely possible they could General Mills/Kellogg’s/etc, but it’s unlikely that they would buy their own cereal factory just for this) and the fact that they’re advertising them as “Crunchy!” which is not something I typically think of when I think of an IHOP pancake.

Will I buy a box whenever this comes out?  I probably won’t make a dedicated trip for it (just like many of the wackier cereal flavors that seem to always end up being WalMart exclusive), but if I happen upon it, it would, if nothing else, give me another article to write.

One thought on “Even Amidst the Coronavirus, IHOP Is Still Trying Desperately to Stay Relevant

  1. RJG says:

    I am actually a big fan of breakfast delivery, as someone who usually skips the meal but whose girlfriend does not. Agree it is harder to deliver well than other types of food though.

    What IHOP should do — I’m assuming they *don’t* right now — is designate special parking spaces to bring to-go orders to your car. Since they don’t have a drive-thru. I’ve become prone to only order from places with one of those two things during the coronavirus.

    It just doesn’t feel right to *walk* into a restaurant right now. Logistically, they can augment their app (even just the web app so nobody has to download stuff) so people can signal they’ve arrived and where they are. Even without special parking spaces, get car details and have the person put on their hazards. Someone brings the stuff out. This is working well for Chick-fil-A and Best Buy.

    If IHOP was around and did this, I would go.

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