On June 11th, 2018, the restaurant world changed.
International House Of Pancakes (IHOP) became the International House Of burgers (IHOb) by flipping the upper-case P to a lower-case b.
Now you may be asking, why are we writing a blog about a restaurant?
Not really anyway.
We’re writing about the marketing strategy behind the name and menu change.
The release of the new menu item came on the 11th, but IHOb announced its name change on June 4th, giving the public a week to guess what it could “b”.
Was it effective?
It got people talking about IHOb.
For a whole week, radio stations, news reports, and group messages were asking the same question: What could the b possibly stand for?
Guesses ranged from breakfast related b’s such as bacon, bagels, and biscuits to more outlandish suggestions like Beyoncé, bees, and baseball. (If you want a laugh, you should read some of the things people guessed.)
It wasn’t any of those. (A few of us at H2H Consulting personally hoped it would be “brunch,” and they would add mimosas and Bellinis to the menu.)
So why did they choose burgers?
According to their website, IHOb says that they are “one of the most iconic, all-American comfort-food brands” so it only makes sense that burgers, the classic all-American food, should be a best-seller on their menu.
In addition to their website, they have updated their Twitter page, which currently has 355,000 followers. On their Twitter, they have changed,
- Their handle,
- Their bio,
- Their profile photo,
- Their header photo, and
- Are changing a lot of “p’s” to “b’s” (example: “bossibly” instead of “possibly”).
IHOb’s Twitter has been actively interacting with followers, responding to guesses (before June 11th), answering questions (yes, they will still serve pancakes) and Direct Messaging some lucky followers with a special surprise. (We were not one of the lucky followers, so unfortunately, we don’t know what the surprise is. If you do, let us know!)
But Twitter isn’t the only way they’re spreading the news. One IHOb manager got on top of their iconic blue roof to shout about their new burgers from the rooftop in their newest ad.
In the past, they have sold one burger item, the trio-sliders, which is found under appetizers. But now they have unveiled a whole line of “Ultimate Steakburgers,” which you can find on their online menu.
The name change is only temporary, according to their website, as they unveil the new burger line.
So why change the name at all?
Chief Marketing Officer Brad Haley commented that the restaurant wants to show the world that they are as serious about making quality burgers as they have been about making world famous pancakes.
Overall, we believe that IHOb has created a good marketing strategy. It can be difficult to get customers excited about changes, especially when the changes are unexpected. However, IHOb has included its customers very step of the way, and we believe it will continue to do so even after the great burger reveal dies down.
What do you think?