IHOP launched a new lineup of Melts on Monday, developed to expand p.m. menu choices and off-premise sales.
“Customers were asking for more sandwiches, so we flipped grilled cheese on its head,” said CMO Kieran Donahue of the seven melts in the collection.
IHOP’s biggest daypart is still breakfast, she said, but the chain continues to add more enticements to drive dinner and late-night business. Burgers, burritos and chicken sandwiches are already on the core menu. Plus IHOPPY Hour, which runs every day from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m., lures guests with $5 deals on select menu items.
The Melts were designed for dine-in or to-go, a boost to IHOP’s already robust takeout and delivery business. “Off-premise now accounts for 26% of sales, double what it was in 2019,” said Donahue.
The Melts are now a permanent part of IHOP’s all-day core menu. The majority are heartier options geared to lunch and dinner and range from lighter to more indulgent ingredients. The Cali Roasted Turkey Melt falls into the first category; it’s a layering of roast turkey breast, bacon, Wisconsin whole milk cheese, roasted cherry tomatoes, avocado slices and mayo on multigrain bread.
On the indulgent side is the BBQ Mac Melt, a build of pulled pork with a creamy barbecue drizzle, sharp cheddar mac and cheese, whole milk cheese and pickles on grilled, thick-cut bread similar to challah. It comes with a creamy barbecue dipping sauce.
Other variations include fillings of Buffalo chicken, Philly cheese steak, four cheeses and a more traditional patty melt. Breakfast fans can opt for a Ham & Cheese Melt with a fried egg.
“There’s something for everyone,” said Donahue.
Most of the sandwich ingredients are cross utilized from IHOP’s core menu, with just a few SKUs added. The challah and multigrain bread are new, as are the roasted cherry tomatoes. And the mac and cheese has been updated.
“The Melts can be cooked on the same flattop grills already installed in our restaurants, so no new equipment was needed,” said Donahue. “And we use the same to-go packaging as we do for our burritos and burgers.”
In crafting the Melts, IHOP continues to focus on value, craveability and the ability to customize—the same goals that drove the launch of the chain’s burritos and bowls in January, also geared to the p.m. and off-premise customer.
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