IHOP Company Analysis

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IHOP Competitive Landscape-Part 1

IHOP has a strong presence and brand awareness, while Bakers Square offers a range of healthy meal options. Country Kitchen, on the other hand, offers competitive prices.







  • Droga5 is IHOP's agency of record. Country Kitchen and Bakers Square don't appear to have agencies of records, as they aren't engaged in marketing.


For companies Bakers Square and Country Kitchen, estimated revenues have been provided because the companies are privately-held and haven't disclosed their revenues publicly.

Current CMOs for companies Bakers Square and Country Kitchen Restaurants couldn’t be found.

First, the company websites were searched. There, we had hoped to locate information on the companies’ leadership presented by the companies themselves. Apart from the website, we also searched companies’ press releases and available reports, but found that they haven’t publicly disclosed internal information. It was found that Country Kitchen and Bakers Square are both privately owned, since they haven’t published annual reports.

We dived into company databases such as Linkedin and Glassdoor, as well as industry-related publications such as Nation’s Restaurant News, hoping to find mentions of the leadership at this company and the current CMO. This strategy provided us with the approximate employee count and revenue values for Country Kitchen and Bakers Square, but information on the company’s leadership wasn’t sufficient. One past marketing officer was uncovered this way, but it was found that the person no longer holds the position. In addition, this way, we uncovered one Marketing Manager at the company Country Kitchen, but by looking at the individuals’ job description, it was evident the person doesn’t report to the CEO.

During the search, we uncovered that Bakers Square is operated and owned by parent company American Blue Ribbon Holdings. Because of this, we attempted to find information on leadership of the company American Blue Ribbon Holdings, specifically on ABRH’s CMO, in order to use this information as a proxy for Bakers Square. Again, information on one past CMO of this company, Jennifer Sanning, was available, but further search determined the individual has already left this position.

Because we uncovered two past Chief Marketing Officers that have left their positions, both for Country Kitchen and for Bakers Square, we attempted to locate individuals who have replaced them in these positions, in order to see if they’re still holding the position. We tailored our search to the exact years these individuals left their positions, in order to pinpoint reports on their resignations which could name the persons who succeeded them. This strategy has failed because we were not able to locate any persons who have succeeded the resigned individuals, even after tailoring the search to the exact time of year the Chief Marketing Officers left, according to their Linkedin profiles.
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IHOP Competitive Landscape-Part 2

Cracker Barrel offers family-friendly menus, while Denny's has strong brand recognition. Original Pancake House, on the other hand, prepares meals in traditional ways and serves a range of signature dishes.


  • It is unclear who holds the position of CMO of Original Pancake House. Mark Davis Bailey is the CEO at the Original Pancake House.





  • Cracker Barrel employs 73,000 people across the US.
  • Denny's employee base amounts to 9,000 employees.
  • It is unclear how many people the Original Pancake House employs.


  • Cracker Barrel's current agency of record is Leo Burnett, as the restaurant chain filmed several recent video advertisements in collaboration with this ad agency. Examples: [1] 'One to Remember' TV campaign filmed in August 2019, [2] 'Homestyle Favorites', filmed in May 2019.
  • Denny's ad agency is EP+Co, but the restaurant chain works with more than one agency. In early 2019, Denny's TV advertisement campaign titled 'See You at Denny's' was worked on by 3 different agencies.
  • It is unclear whether the Original Pancake House works with an ad agency.


For Denny's and the Original Pancake House, we added together the numbers of restaurants per each state to get the total number of locations.

One of the things we weren't able to find was the annual revenue for company Cracker Barrel. We checked annual reports and press releases from the company, but the provided information focused on the fiscal year ending in August. We also checked third-party reports in search of external estimates of the full-year revenue, but the available information was based on fiscal-year data provided by the company. Also, the number of employees couldn't be found for the Original Pancake House, as neither a search through the company's website and press releases nor an attempt to locate third-party estimations provided the desired results. For the Original Pancake House, estimated sales have been provided instead of revenue, as the company is privately-owned and hasn't disclosed its revenue.

Original Pancake House's CMO could also not be identified, after attempting to find this information in the following ways:

First, we consulted the company website in search of a 'Leadership' section but found the company's website mostly focuses on meals and information surrounding food. We searched reports and press releases from the company but didn't find anything significant. It was found that the company is privately-held and does not disclose internal information to the public.

We then turned to third-party resources, industry specific publications such as the Restaurant Business Magazine, as well as business publications such as Entrepreneur, where we hoped to find mentions of the company's leadership. Even though this way, we uncovered estimates of the company's sales, leadership information was limited to the company's owner, Mark Davis Bailey.

Lastly, we attempted to locate individuals that have held the position of CMO in this company in the past. We aimed to locate reports on past CMO resignations to see who replaced them, in order to find out whether these individuals still hold these positions, but even after searching for information older than 10 years, it was evident that no relevant information exists. During the search, it was evident that the Original Pancake House doesn't actively engage in advertising or marketing, which makes it seem possible that the restaurant chain doesn't have an appointed CMO.
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IHOP SWOT Analysis

IHOP's strengths are its strong international presence and high profitability, while its weaknesses are its lack of competitiveness and its lack of innovativeness. The restaurant chain's opportunities include technology implementations, strategical expansions and vegan diet trends, while its threats are the emerging low-carb diet trends and the rise of online shopping.


International presence

High profitability and sales

  • Prior to the 2018 "IHOb" marketing campaign, the restaurant chains' sales were decreasing.
  • IHOP's 2018 "IHOb" creative campaign resulted in a 1.5% sales growth in 2018, compared to 2017. IHOP's Q4 2018 sales grew by 3%, while its 2018 revenue grew by 4%, at the highest level since 2015.
  • The restaurant chains' Q4 2018 to-go same-store sales grew by 23%, while its foot traffic grew by 13%. According to restaurant chain President Darren Rebelez, the "IHOb" marketing campaign resulted in increased customer awareness surrounding IHOP's alternative meal options, apart from breakfast, and the chain will continue to focus its growth on its lunch and dinner meal options. The chain's burger sales have been quadrupled as of early 2019.
  • Regardless of IHOP's marketing campaigns, the profit margins for the American full-service restaurant industry are rapidly increasing. In 2018, this growth amounted to 6.1%, compared to around 2.5% in 2016 and 2017.


Lack of competitiveness

Lack of innovativeness


Strategic expansion opportunities

Technology investments

Listening to trends surrounding vegan food

  • Emerging diet trends, such as vegan diets, are an emerging market for restaurants. Recently, IHOP has announced it is working on creating a new vegan meal, which suggests the company is listening to trends in the food industry.


Emerging low-carb diet trends

  • Some diet trends, however, threaten IHOP's sales. The emerging low-carb diet trends such as keto and paleo diets don't align with IHOP's differentiating, high-carb dishes such as pancakes and waffles. Especially considering the rise of "healthy" restaurants such as Sweetgreens, these trends could result in customers being averted to alternate eating establishments.

The rise of online shopping


In order to provide a SWOT analysis of IHOP, we examined a compilation of third-party reports on the restaurant chain. In order to paint a picture of the industry IHOP is located in, we included insights that apply to full-service restaurants in general, since IHOP belongs to this industry. We only included industry-related insights in the following instances: [1] In order to provide additional insights into the profitability of IHOP, we provided the profit margins for the American full-service restaurant industry. [2] In order to describe the importance of competitiveness in the restaurant industry, we provided the number of restaurants that are opened on a yearly basis.

From Part 01
From Part 02