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IHOP To Launch Fast-Casual Concept For Urban Markets In 2020

A rendering of a storefront for Flip'd, the fast-casual offshoot of IHOP debuting in 2020

IHOP is adding a new offering that it hopes will bring it more in line with modern trends in casual dining.

The International House of Pancakes announced on Wednesday that it will be launching a fast-casual, counter service-based concept called Flip'd in Atlanta in April. The company is also considering sites in New York, Washington, D.C., Denver and San Francisco, it said in a press release.

Flip'd will have both staff and digital touch screens taking orders, with a focus on to-go orders and online delivery, while still retaining some hallmarks of original IHOP restaurants. Those holdovers, like pancake dishes and 24-hour service, may set it apart from other fast-casual eateries that have flooded many urban markets.

Even before any Flip'd locations are open, delivery has become IHOP's fastest-growing business line. In Q3, off-site business grew by 24% to comprise 9% of the chain's overall revenue, according to the company's earnings call. IHOP wants to grow that portion to 15% in coming years, Restaurant Dive reports.

Perhaps in part due to the growth in online ordering, IHOP locations experienced a same-store sales increase of 1.2% in Q3. IHOP's parent company, Dine Brands Global, is only the latest national concern to launch a fast-casual offshoot; Cheesecake Factory debuted a pan-Asian concept early this year.

IHOP has explored other methods of growing beyond its core business, including a franchising agreement to put smaller-format IHOP restaurants in 94 highway-adjacent rest stops managed by TravelCenters of America, Restaurant Dive reports.