Tallahassee will soon join the roster of International House of Pancakes restaurants located in the United States when it opens its doors in April.
Since its establishment in 1958, IHOP has expanded to more than 1,000 restaurants in 49 states including the U.S. Virgin Islands, Canada and Mexico, according to the company’s Web site.
Sunshine Restaurant Partners, LLC have agreed to open two IHOP locations in Tallahassee on North Monroe Street and Apalachee Parkway.
“I’m excited about IHOP coming to town,” said Jarrett Nobles, 22, a senior business administration student from Washington D.C. “I think it is a good business opportunity and mutually benefiting relationship for the students of Tallahassee as well as the IHOP corporation itself.”
But what does this mean for Waffle House? Currently, there are more than three Waffle Houses located in Tallahassee. With the new IHOP opening, many restaurants such as Waffle House may experience a competitive challenge in terms of pricing, menu options and customer loyalty.
Oliver Mitchell, master grill operator at the Capital Circle southwest location, has been an employee for the last eight years. Mitchell said he believes IHOP will pose a threat to Waffle House’s business.
“A lot of people come in wanting pancakes as opposed to waffles and we do not sell or specialize in pancakes; that is IHOP’s specialty not ours,” Mitchell said.
Although many students are excited about the new restaurant opening, others are not as pleased.
“I’m happy about IHOP coming to town, but I wish it was Denny’s instead because we need a Denny’s in Tallahassee,” said Rutha Adams, 21, a senior elementary education student from Orlando.
A short stack of buttermilk pancakes at IHOP begins at $3.69 including the option of having chocolate chips, fruit or original buttermilk pancakes. Regular waffles at Waffle House are $2.75, without the option or variety of toppings offered by IHOP.
The menu options, many would agree, are the biggest difference between the two companies.
“The ingredients used by both companies are extremely different,” Mitchell said. “Also, at Waffle House we do not have a set menu of waffle toppings whereas IHOP has a variety of toppings to top off over their pancakes.”
This new business venture of the Sunshine Restaurant Partners, LLC to bring an IHOP to Tallahassee will provide more late-night eating options to college students.
“It is good to see the new IHOP restaurants located in two high traffic locations and in close proximity to all the nightclubs, providing me with yet another opportunity of breakfast options in the late hours of the night,” Nobles said.
Both IHOP’s and Waffle House’s Web site lists one of their core values as specializing in good food at a fast pace and providing an affordable price.
By the end of this semester students and residents alike will decide whether Tallahassee is a waffle or pancake city.