Restaurants

Opinion/Analysis: IHOP becomes IHOb — Who doesn’t want their breakfast served with a side of bad marketing?

Who doesn’t want their breakfast served with a heaping side dish of bad marketing? The International House of Pancakes, which has been around for 60 years, has announced on Twitter that it is changing its acronym from IHOP to IHOb. No word yet on what that means for its full name. The company tweeted: “For 60 pancakin’ years, we’ve been IHOP. Now, we’re flippin’ our name to IHOb. Find out what it could b on 6.11.18. #IHOb.” The restaurant chain has been urging followers to guess what the “b” signifies. Fans were urged to vote about what they thought it meant, choosing options like “Bacon” or “Barnacles.” (Yum!) As of this writing, bacon is deservedly winning. But a major company hopping toward a possibly half-baked new name and only getting 34,000 votes for its naming survey says a lot about how hot the IHOP brand really is. (Hint: If they wouldn’t serve you something this cold – even with syrup.) That doesn’t solve the mystery of the killer “b,” which Internet users have widely interpreted to mean “breakfast.” The implication is that customers at more than 1,650 IHOP/IHOb restaurants in the U.S, as well as Mexico, Bahrain and several other countries, don’t realize the company does more than pancakes. Rather than leap to the assumption this will be a New Coke level marketing disaster (1,000 on a scale of 1-10), many are panning the move and the new name is being battered. The Guardian scored with the best putdown, saying: “Ihop becomes Ihob in desperate blea for attention.” When even NPR says your Twitter feed is “littered with the company’s coy responses” about the move, it’s fair to be skeptical. It’s also just as fair to assume some marketing “genius” decided an official name change could make the company more “hip” or PC. Alaskans witnessed this recently when Mt. McKinley turned into Mt. Denali. The 20,310-foot-peak (the highest in North America) didn’t get any easier to climb, it just got harder to spell. Journalists know this process all too well as they watched the venerable Chicago Tribune company change its publishing arm to “tronc.” (A moronic short form for Tribune online content.) IHOP isn’t getting troncated, though IHOb conjures up other marketing problems. The term “hob” has several definitions and can mean a place on a stove to warm plates and pans, as well as the hub of a wheel or a male ferret. (Ferrets, they’re not just for breakfast anymore!). Urban Dictionary describes “hub” as “buff” or “strong,” as well as the singular form for husband. None of those really shouts “Breakfast!” to a hungry world. “Hob” is also a computer game produced by Runic Games. Perhaps players will now indicate their game of choice merely by saying: “I Hob.” Or perhaps, IHOP’s lack of cool factor will harm the game entirely. And speaking of “cool,” I just remembered I need to vote another few thousand times for ‘bacon.” Because International House of bacon might seem like a rasher idea, but it could cure any marketing problem.

Agreed..  This whole IHop to IHob thing is a total disaster.  We wonder who the brain trust was behind that marketing flop/flob.  Thanks to Dan Gainor over at the Media Research Center for his spot-on analysis here.

These Chick-Fil-A workers will be making $18 per hour

The owner of a California Chick-Fil-A on Monday hiked some employee’s hourly wages to as much as $18 and is offering other benefits. According to KXTV, current employees working as “hospitality professionals” making $12.50 to $13 per hour will see a wage increase to $17 to $18 per hour. Also, all employees will get paid sick leave and supervisors will get paid time off. Eric Mason, the owner of the Chick-Fil-A in Sacramento told KXTV, “We’re looking for people trying to raise families, improve their lifestyle. The people (are) the real key component to successful businesses. We’re looking for people who are looking for long-term opportunity.”

Taco Bell releases its own Mexican-style beer

Those who love Taco Bell and beer no longer have to choose between a chalupa and a brewski. The Cal-Mexican fast food chain has announced in a press release the roll out of its very own beer – the Beach Bell. The brew will be a Mexican-style amber lager that was created in conjunction with Four Sons Brewing, a craft brewer located in Huntington Beach, CA. The beer will be hitting the tap at Taco Bell’s Cantina store – the millennial-friendly minimalist set-up that slings booze and burritos underneath cool Edison lightbulbs. However, Taco Bell enthusiasts living outside of Southern California can hold their excitement. The company revealed the Beach Bell will only be served at the Taco Bell Cantina in Newport Beach, with no word on a larger release. Die-hard fans still have the ability to drown their sorrows, though — Taco Bell Cantinas nationwide sell a collection of domestic beer, wine and boozy “Twisted Freezes.”

Arizona restaurant closes following backlash from its pro-Trump Facebook post

An Arizona restaurant was forced to close its doors indefinitely this week after a politically charged Facebook post the eatery’s owners wrote prompted mass criticism from social media users. Christopher Smith and Jay Warren, the owners of Cup it Up American Grill in Tucson, posted a statement on the restaurant’s social media page last week with a list of things the two support and resent, including the president, kneeling for the anthem and late night hosts, Vice News reported. The post stated: “We believe in and support 100% in the following: OUR President, Always Standing for the National Anthem, repealing Obama Care…” The post also listed, God, the Bill of Rights, drug screening for welfare recipients and the U.S. Armed Forces among others they praised. Their list of things they don’t believe in or support included: “Those that DON’T respect our President, Armed Forces and First Responders, kneeling for the national anthem, Antifa, fake news, global warming and late night hosts getting political…” The post concluded with: “If you like this post, please share it with 5 friends and we look forward to your next visit! If you disagree with this post, please share it with 100 friends and we won’t be expecting you anytime soon!” The restaurant’s post also mentioned the eatery would not broadcast NFL games until “the organization got it together.” The post, which went viral, was met with widespread backlash and criticism, forcing the restaurant to delete it and all its social media accounts. The restaurant received “so many angry phone calls” that several employees chose to quit, reports say. “People threatened to burn down the restaurant with the owners in it. It’s a crazy world we’re in,” Ron Sanchez, whose daughter worked at the eatery, told ABC15. Ericka Ayup, a regular customer of the restaurant, told ABC 15 the post was not “smart” but respected their opinion. “I respected their decision to speak up and be patriotic whether people agree or not,” Ayup told ABC 15. “It wasn’t smart for them to do what they did from a business aspect especially being down here in the University — which is more liberal and young.” The restaurant apologized for the post but social media users flooded the eatery’s Yelp page with negative reviews. Last Monday, the restaurant posted a statement on its door, announcing it would be closing indefinitely. “We have made a decision to close our doors indefinitely as of today, Monday, October 9, 2017. The safety of our employees, and our families is of great concern and is our #1 priority at this time,” the statement said. “We would also like to extend a special thanks to our Military and First responders. Thank you all and God Bless.”

This is the country we live in now….where the pc police and speech nazis will go after you, and shut your business down if you dare to exercise your First Amendment rights to say something they don’t agree with.  Oh well..  We hope Cup it Up reopens soon!

Waffle House founders die less than 2 months apart

Thomas Francis Forkner Sr., who jumped from selling real estate to the restaurant business when he co-founded Waffle House in the 1950s, has died less than two months after the death of his business partner who recruited him to help launch the famous Southern diner chain. Waffle House said in a statement that Forkner died Wednesday at age 98. He grew up in DeKalb County just outside Atlanta, the company said, and returned there to sell real estate after serving as an Army intelligence officer during World War II. Forkner sold a house to his neighbor, Joe Rogers Sr., who worked for the Toddle House restaurant chain. Rogers persuaded Forkner to join him in starting a restaurant of their own. They opened the first 24-hour Waffle House in the Atlanta suburb of Avondale Estates on Labor Day in 1955. They opened a second location two years later, and they kept building the business over the next two decades. Under Forkner and Rogers, the Waffle House chain grew to 400 restaurants by the time they sold the business in the late 1970s. Rogers died March 3, just seven weeks before Forkner. The company said Forkner’s wife of 71 years, Martha Forkner, died March 4. The Atlanta-based company now has more than 1,500 locations. Forkner was known to drop by the company headquarters regularly, up until a few weeks before his death. He would often drive there to have lunch with new manager trainees, said Waffle House Chairman Joe Rogers Jr., whose father started the company with Forkner. “Tom and my father had a handshake deal, and their partnership and friendship continued for more than 60 years,” Joe Rogers said in a statement. “Tom and Joe were great partners_Tom working the real estate side of the business and my father operating the restaurants.” Forkner also was an accomplished golfer, the company said, and won enough senior championships to warrant his induction into the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame in 2007.

What a great story!  I love their Toddle House ham & cheese omelets..   Thank you Tom and Joe for sharing your truly American story, and your great breakfasts, with us.  R.I.P.

Rob Lowe is KFC’s New Colonel Sanders

KFC, a unit of Yum! Brands, announced Friday that actor Rob Lowe is taking on the role as the company’s new Colonel Sanders. Debuting on Sunday, the former “West Wings” star will appear in a new ad campaign promoting the fast food chain’s “Zinger” chicken sandwich, which KFC has spent nearly $80 million to create over the last two years. Lowe said in statement that he signed on as a spokesman to pay tribute to his grandfather. “My grandfather was the head of the Ohio chapter of the National Restaurant Association in the 1960s and took me to meet Colonel Harland Sanders when I was as kid,” Lowe said in a statement Friday. “It was a big deal. I thought this would be a nice homage to both Colonel Sanders and to my grandfather.” Lowe joins a list of other celebrities who have filled the colonel’s iconic shoes. Comedians Darrell Hammond, Jim Gaffigan, Norm Macdonald and actors George Hamilton and Billy Zane have also played the king of fried chicken. The new spicy Zinger is the company’s first fried chicken sandwich to be made by hand, daily in-house, the company’s president said..

Finger lickin’ crazy!  To see the promo video, and read the rest of this article, click on the text above.

Hooters opening new fast-casual concept Hoots, with male and female servers

As Chipotle, Panera and similar restaurants advertising higher quality at a faster pace continue to gain popularity, Hooters, the long-time chain known for wings, short shorts and table service, is dipping its toe into the fast-casual waters. The Clearwater-based Hooters Management Corp., the smaller of the two companies that operate Hooters restaurants around the world, announced Tuesday it will open Hoots, A Hooters Joint, outside of Chicago next month. Hoots will feature an abbreviated, one-page menu with some of the most popular items from full-service Hooters restaurants, including its classic chicken wings, in a new, scaled-down concept that’s part of the fast-casual trend, a news release said. The initial Hoots, located in Cicero, Ill., will be 2,800 square feet, with 75 seats and a full-service bar, but will rely on counter service for both take out and dine-in customers, rather than having servers come to guests’ tables. It’s expected to open in mid-February. One thing customers won’t be seeing at Hoots: the iconic Hooters uniform of orange shorts and tight white tank tops that helped earn the chain distinction as a “breastaurant.” Spokeswoman Lizz Harmon said that the Hoots concept will eschew the revealing outfits, and will also feature both male and female servers at the counter. Hooters Management Corp. CEO Neil Kiefer is part of the group that opened the original Hooters restaurant in Clearwater on Gulf to Bay Boulevard in 1983.

It’ll be interesting to see if this idea catches on..