The Real Reason IHOP Is Pulling Syrup From Tables

We don't know about you, but we're looking forward to getting our lives back, and that includes going to our favorite diners and restaurants which already have reopened, or are expecting to soon. But thanks to the pandemic, things won't be the same as far as our favorite restaurants are concerned, and that includes IHOP

You'll have to expect the "new normal" at this beloved chain, and this will include seeing servers in face masks and tables clear of any pre-set cutlery. You probably won't be getting refillable coffee in the same mug, but instead, a fresh cup of coffee in a new mug every time. The old plastic menu will be gone too, and that will be replaced by single-use paper menus.

High-touch items can be riddled with germs

But while you might not really end up missing the little things, the one big we're all likely to miss is IHOP's delectable, sugary selection of flavored syrups that are placed directly on the table, which — for as long as we've had them — have been fun to pour onto our pancakes, Belgian waffles, and French toast (via Eat This, Not That!).

While we're sad to hear that our syrup selections are — at least for now — a thing of the past, the news shouldn't really have come as a surprise. Even without the threat of a pandemic sitting on our shoulders, we've heard from noted microbiologists like the University of Arizona's Charles Gerba about the germiness of the average restaurant, with high-touch surfaces like reusable menus and condiment bottles on the top of the list (via ABC News). 

Don't worry, you'll still get your IHOP syrup

While servers may be required to wipe menus and condiment containers down, WebMD says traces of E. coli (which can cause diarrhea) and S. aureus (or staph) can be found on menus, while E. coli and coliform have been found on condiment bottles and salt shakers, and ABC News reports that "experts say the most common illnesses you can pick up are respiratory infections." 

Removing these high-touch points will just save you from having to clean off the condiments whenever you sit down to eat, though it's always still a good idea to wash your hands before diving into that tall stack. And don't worry, your pancakes won't be forced to sit naked on the plate. The syrup might not be sitting on tables in singing bottles anymore, but IHOP promises in a recent note to guests that among its other precautions, it will present both syrups and condiments in single-use containers.