Battered IHOP could close up to 100 restaurants

Up to 100 IHOP restaurants could close, said parent company Dine Brands Global, after third-quarter sales fell 19 percent. (Getty)

Up to 100 IHOP restaurants could close, said parent company Dine Brands Global, after third-quarter sales fell 19 percent. (Getty)

In these times, even pancakes can’t cheer us up.

The parent company of IHOP restaurants said sales fell 18.7 percent in the third quarter, triggering a review of underperforming locations. As many as 100 might be closed.

“We’re evaluating only greatly underperforming restaurants that we currently believe are not viable coming out of the pandemic,” IHOP’s president, Jay Johns, said on an earnings call.

The company, Dine Brands Global, also plans to close about 15 Applebee’s restaurants, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Untold numbers of restaurants across the country have closed since March after indoor-dining restrictions were implemented to stop the spread of Covid-19. Several states including New York have now authorized indoor dining again — but with tight capacity limits. And with the threat of transmission still top of mind, it may not be enough to keep many afloat.

IHOP, which states on its Twitter page that “any home can become a house of pancakes,” has seen a bump in online and delivery orders since the restrictions took effect. But with so many people working from home, the loss of commuters stopping by for breakfast has hit sales hard.

The downsizing of IHOP’s restaurant staple puts a dent in the company’s expansion plan, which saw its restaurant count jump from 1,579 in 2014 to 1,710 at the end of 2019, according to the Journal. Currently, 1,425 IHOPs are open for indoor dining.

[WSJ] — Sylvia Varnham O’Regan

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