If you’ve ever had a craving for pancakes and beer, your friendly neighborhood IHOP could be the place to go to.
For the first time, IHOP will be offering its franchisees the chance to add alcohol to the menu as a way to push its non-breakfast items as well. And while a couple of branches do already serve booze, until now, it was completely up to the franchise owner to add alcohol to the menu.
According to CNN, the company announced that two IHOP branches in New Mexico will start offering alcohol this week. The menu includes Bud Light, Blue Moon, Corona, Barefoot Bubbly Brut, Barefoot Bubbly Chardonnay, and Barefoot Cabernet Sauvignon, as well as other local offerings if available.
There will be no hard liquor, though, as the company would still like to keep IHOP a family-themed restaurant.
Many more IHOP restaurants are set to offer alcohol in the future. These include branches in New York, Rhode Island, Maryland, and Ohio. IHOP President Jay Johns expects that about 1,000 restaurants out of 1,750 will be adding alcohol to the menu.
There may some bumps along the road, though, in convincing franchisees to make this move. Before restaurants can serve beer and other alcohol, they must obtain a liquor license. Franchisees will also have to train staff to check ID cards, and of course, become familiar with the new menu.
Considering the drop in sales in the past year because of the pandemic, this may not be the most enticing offer to franchise owners. Despite recovering in the second quarter of 2020, IHOP’s total sales don’t match up to 2019’s second-quarter numbers.
But with alcoholic items generally having a profit higher margin than food items, this strategy can potentially really help IHOP.
IHOP also helps out its franchisees by suggesting food or meal pairings with drinks on the menu. By offering a pre-selected meal and drink, it would be easier for servers to push the menu items as well.