International House of Bitterness

Ummm, why are they salty?

We just had Father’s Day a few days ago and it got me thinking about my dad. His work ethic was pretty legendary. He left early and got home pretty late. He had a very challenging church calling as well, so he wasn’t home a lot. Because of that, he didn’t do much cooking. He did however, do one thing that we remember. He would sometimes make pancakes on Saturday morning. Instead of sugar, he put salt. Isn’t it funny that we never talk about all the perfect pancakes, we remember the one bad batch we got.

Speaking of huge mistakes and pancakes, International House of Pancakes made a huge deal recently about changing their name. When I first saw that whole thing on Twitter, I thought they just messed up the letter. Then I read that they were changing it.

First things first. I love marketing. I’m one of the few people I knew growing up that enjoyed commercials. I always wanted to be an advertising copywriter, so when I saw that they were teasing this change on social media, I was hooked. I knew they would get backlash and that people would scoff and scorn and think it was stupid. And I thought it was brilliant.


Let’s be honest. When is the last time you remember thinking at all about IHOP or IHOB or whatever it wants to be called? Until this marketing ploy, probably the first time you went there. For about a week or two though, you had IHOB on the lips. Everyone from your friends to Wendy’s, Burger King (changing their name to Pancake King) and other businesses from all different ranges were talking about IHOB.


They say even bad news is good PR, because it gets people thinking about them again. They probably even enjoyed getting roasted by Wendy’s social media, because it is considered a badge of honor. All I know is that they other day when my wife was asking what we should eat for dinner, I suggested IHOB so we could try some burgers there. And I was serious.

I never would have done that previously. Maybe the stunt only lasts them a few weeks, people out of curiosity try their burgers and move on permanently. But just like my dad pancakes, I don’t remember the ones that were done perfectly. I remember the ones that were made of salt.

IHOP could have continued making pancakes, made the same menu, had the same 10 folks going to every restaurant and stayed in business forever and no one would have really cared. I applaud their taking a risk. It makes me want to have a B up my sleeve so someday, everyone will pay attention to this blog even for a few days. I love all the people roasting them. And I finally thought about IHOB for the first time since I first went there.

What did you all think of the IHOB thing? (Let’s just say that I think it should stand for International House of Bitterness.)


Bitter Pancake Ben


20 thoughts on “International House of Bitterness

  1. Excellent post!
    I have worked in ad and promo in its many iterations. I too love effective ad copy. When it’s good, it’s VERY good. ‘Under the Influence’ is a fascinating CBC podcast about that very topic and I never miss it. I learned that Darth Vader’s breathing, The Ho ho ho of the green giant, and the phrase Lets get ready to rumble are all trademarked, among other inside-baseball ad topics. Recommended Ben!


  2. I’d eat at the International House of bitterness. Great post, I totally agree that people are talking about them. I didn’t think they were struggling, in my area you can’t get near one without a wait


  3. I thought it was ridiculous. They should stick with their signature dish. If they suddenly have a bug up their butt to make burgers, do something gitchy, like sandwich it between two pancakes. Like a McGriddle only better, you know? 🙂


  4. you are the international house of bitterness now that is your only name.

    did you see that other restaurants got in on the action? wendy’s was their usual savage selves and roasted them to a burnt burger crisp. whataburger and burger king also set them to flames. although it was an odd decision, i think it was amazing because they got themselves to trend on a very wide level. i mean, once you’ve made it to meme status, you know you’ve made it in life.

    another great blog! i will always adore your style


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