IHOP's Menu Is Receiving A Massive Overhaul

While IHOP's name may be pancake-centric, its menu long ago expanded to include numerous other options. The chain's never been afraid of innovation, even though it sometimes goes a bit too far, as with 2018's infamous IHOB rebranding used to announce the addition of burgers to the menu. This time around, IHOP's not changing its name, but it has announced some major menu additions to be rolled out on April 3. (Not on April 1, as these new menu items are no joke.)

So what's on deck for IHOP? It's introducing two new burger toppings, one a bourbon-bacon jam and the other a cheese crisp made of cheddar, fontal, gruyere, and Swiss. The menu will also feature new crepes, including a savory chicken pesto one, as well as several different eggs benedicts — one with that bourbon-bacon jam, another with vegetables, and a third with poblano peppers. Fried fish and shrimp platters will also be available, along with two new salads (berry and chopped chicken), while new beverages include mango iced tea and a strawberry lemonade Splasher. Perhaps the biggest news, however, is the return of the popular Cinna-A-Stack. This tower of cinnamon roll-flavored pancakes with cream cheese frosting was a best-seller for IHOP, puzzling fans as to why it ever disappeared from the menu. When it did, around a dozen people would contact IHOP weekly to beg for the pancakes to be brought back, the chain's CMO told CNBC.

This major expansion may help bring the menu back to pre-pandemic levels

IHOP, like so many other restaurant chains (not to mention countless indies), was hard-hit by the pandemic. When it reopened restaurants to socially distanced dining, it did so with a drastically downsized menu, reduced from 12 pages to just two. Smaller menus, after all, make things easier on restaurant staff. It's also cheaper for the restaurant since it doesn't need to stock a large number of ingredients that may not be called for too often. In recent years, though, IHOP has gradually brought back old favorites and added new ones, with one notable menu expansion being the introduction of bowls and burritos in 2021.

Even with the new additions, though, the menu today is still about 15% smaller than it was circa 2019. As there are only going to be about a dozen new items added this April, we're not sure how close that will get the chain to peak IHOP, but it's definitely a move in that direction. The menu overhaul is not without a downside, though, at least for IHOP employees: They now need to learn how to prepare the new items, and the Benedicts, in particular, may prove tricky as poached eggs are not something IHOP has offered in recent years. (They're not always the easiest thing to make, either.) Still, customers will undoubtedly be pleased to have more choices, and butts in seats are what keeps restaurants like IHOP open, after all.