IHOB: What’s in a Name?

I have a lot of memories at IHOP, hardly any of them good. Usually, it becomes the go-to place for late-night eating amongst my paranormal group after we are done ghost hunting at the museum. This is out of necessity, because nothing else is open at this time. Eating at the soon-to-be-re-named IHOB is always a bit of an adventure. Perhaps it is the location I am used to frequenting. Or maybe it is the time (usually after 1 AM). It seems to me that every drunkard and junkie within a 20 mile radius manages to find themselves dining there into the wee morning hours. Twice, I witnessed a waitress chastise a group of drunks who were starting to become belligerent, and one time about two years ago, saw the police arrive to arrest a man who seemed about ready to pass out (probably from heroin) who was refusing to pay his bill. My last visit, I swore would be the last one. In a 90 minute display of stunning, superfluous mediocrity, we were served a turkey wrap that looked like it got blasted with a Mannlicher-Carcano rifle, a pot of blue cleaning agent dangling eerily close to the cooking area, and the most expensive ala carte egg sandwich in history.

Drop the Narcan and hold onto your chairs! After seeing a drop in profits following the morning breakfast rush, IHOP is choosing to rename themselves the “International House of Burgers”. You can look at this one of two ways: 1) They are creatively adapting with the times and should be lauded for their flexibility or 2) This is a cry for help and the chain as a whole will be out of business within the next year or two. Kind of like when that restaurant down the street starts to offer delivery and a $5 lunch special out of nowhere. Or when the pizzeria in town now sells Mexican food and sushi.

Had they changed their name to “International House of Breakfast”, I think we could reconcile. After all, this place is known for that. Pancakes aside, probably the best of the worst dishes I have ever had here was eggs over easy and some toast. But no, we are jumping right to burgers. I cannot think of anything more terrifying than chowing down on a burger cooked out of this place’s kitchen. Again, maybe I am biased because the location near me is so horrid. Perhaps there are other locations bereft of skaggle.

I’ve said for years that if Perkins ever became a 24 hour joint that they would knock IHOB out of business. They actually offer up good food. The pancakes are fluffy, sandwiches solid, and who wouldn’t want a Mammoth Muffin with their cheese-packed omelets? I would gladly share the dining room with such shady figures while wolfing such items down. At this point, I should probably get to the service. While Perkins’ is always friendly, IHOB waiters and waitresses seem to be on the verge of a nervous breakdown. I guess one can only take so much, between being part-server, part-bouncer, and full-time referee. I’d be in a fetal position sucking my thumb if I had to work the overnight there. But I will commend them on their fortitude. Like a sufferer of Stockholm Syndrome, they keep coming back for more.

What have we learned throughout our lives in the areas of food service? It does not matter what you call something. Garbage is still garbage. They can call themselves IHOP, IHOB, or IHOBBLE (as in hobbling your way to the bathroom to unload a Cinna-stack after piloting its way through your digestive tract). It just does not matter. They long ago lost my trust and a simple change of the name is not going to do a damn thing. They can be as excited as they want, but publicly, they have to be. This is the biggest cry for help and publicity stunt in the food industry I have seen in years. If they truly cared, they would visit their locations to witness the horror and correct mistakes rather than worry about changing their names to include something that no one would order out of this place in a million years. IHOB: the one restaurant that can make the Waffle House seem classy.

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