IHOP has put its creative account into review, according to multiple people close to the situation. Incumbent Droga5 is not defending.
The restaurant chain wasn’t immediately available for comment.
“We could not be prouder of all we have accomplished together over the past four years—the results we’ve achieved and the outstanding work we’ve made by flipping expectations across the IHOP business,” said a spokesman for Droga5. “It’s clear that this is a time of transition for the new marketing team, and we agree that it would be best for them to do that with a different partner. We wish them nothing but the pancaking best.”
In February, the restaurant chain named Kieran Donahue, a Marriott and Hilton hotel veteran, as its new chief marketing officer, succeeding Brad Haley. IHOP, a chain that has been impacted by the pandemic, spent $39.5 million on U.S. measured media in 2020, down from $68.8 million in 2019, a 42.6% decline, according to Kantar.
The review follows a 40.1% gain in IHOP's same-restaurant sales for the third quarter of 2021 compared to the third quarter of last year as reported in November by Dine Brands Global, which also owns the Applebee's Neighborhood Grill chain. "We recorded a second consecutive period of both IHOP and Applebee’s beating their competitive sets, average weekly sales for both brands exceeded 2019 pre-pandemic levels, and we delivered a 48% increase in quarter-over-quarter EBITDA," said CEO John Peyton in announcing the results.
According to a recent report from the Wall Street Journal, IHOP is part of a group of restaurants choosing to scale back on delivery and to-go orders given struggles with labor shortages and the return of customers to on-site dining.