IHOP Has Canceled Its Pancake Day Festivities. Here's How You Can Still Get Some Free Pancakes

Satisfying that craving for a free IHOP short stack of buttermilk pancakes will not be the same this year. With IHOP canceling its festivities on February 16, National Pancake Day, the change to the annual tradition has a few people wondering what to do with their container of maple syrup. Although the single day, in-restaurant promotion is not an option like in previous years, everyone can still get some free pancakes from IHOP.

According to USA Today, IHOP will be offering MyHOP email club members an IOU for free pancakes. According to the IHOP website, on April 1, all MyHOP members will receive a coupon for a free short stack of buttermilk pancakes, which thankfully is not a cruel April Fool's prank. The coupon can be redeemed from April 1 through April 30, 2021, both in-restaurant or online. The free pancakes promotion is available to all who are or become MyHOP members by March 31, 2021, but only one free short stack per customer. 

IHOP created Pancake Day to celebrate Pancakes with a Purpose

IHOP has celebrated National Pancake Day within its restaurants for 15 years (via press release). According to National Calendar Today, IHOP created the food holiday. While many people cannot resist the free food offer, the event is a charity fundraiser. USA Today states that IHOP has raised $30 million dollars for its charity partners, which include Children's Miracle Network, Shriners Hospitals for Children, and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. In an IHOP company statement, guests are encouraged to support its charity partners throughout April by donating with their purchases

The modified IHOP Pancake Day celebration is another example of a business that has adapted free food promotions to fit with health and safety protocols. 7-Eleven canceled its in-store free Slurpee Day promotion and replaced it with a coupon offer for free Slurpees, per USA Today). While businesses appreciate that consumers are drawn to free food promotions, there are other factors to be considered. IHOP recognized that larger gatherings might not be wise amid the ongoing pandemic. By opting for a coupon offer that can be redeemed over a longer period of time, companies look to reduce crowd size on a single day. 

This year, IHOP has flipped the story on Pancake Day and turned it into a stacked pancake offer for all of April.