India's First IHOP Opens at Cyber Hub Gurugram

The company plans to gradually expand operations to around 20 restaurants. As of now they will concentrate on the NCR region and possibly also establish their presence in Bengaluru, according to the brand owner, DineEquity, Inc.


The interiors of India's first IHOP restaurant and (right) Gary Moore, Vice President, International, DineEquity, Inc.

THE INTERNATIONAL House of Pancakes brand, known the world over for its breakfast offerings, has opened its first outlet in India at Gurugram’s, DLF Cyber Hub, franchised to the Kwal’s Catering Group.

IHOP began in California in 1958 and has more than 1,700 restaurants around the world. The chain offers wide range of fresh and made to order breakfast options, popular lunch and dinner meals.

“For the first time, we are bringing the concept of IHOP to India. IHOP is famous for breakfast and pancakes. We are now serving our famous pancakes in India, which is the 20th country to have an IHOP,” said Gary Moore, Vice President, International, DineEquity, Inc.

According to Moore, IHOP has come up with a new format of restaurants, where the interiors give customers the feeling of California, the sunshine, beach, light and freshness.

On asking about how the menu in India is going to be distinctive from the US he said, “one of the menu items that we have here is a lamb omelet. We have taken beef off the menu in India and substituted it with lamb and chicken.”

While looking from the marketing perspective and strategies Moore explained, “India is huge and complicated market in terms of different regions and food tastes, which we are aware of.  We firmly believe that IHOP’s pancakes are the best in the world. So, it’s not like we find things or do things differently here. We follow a defined process and wanted to make sure whenever we opened in India, we would be known for exactly the same quality and service.”

“We are looking to open three more outlets in the NCR this year and we are also considering expanding to Bangalore. It’s good to have an infrastructure so we are keeping to the NCR to start with, once we are big enough, we can move to other cities.”  Moore said.

“Restaurants are generally good employers, in the United States 11 percent of the entire workforce is employed directly in the restaurant business. We are expecting to generate thousand of jobs through the addition of 20 IHOP restaurants in India,” Moore said when asked about job generation by his chain.

On the pricing policy, Moore said, “we are charging what we believe our food is worth. The idea is not to bring the price down, the idea is to charge what we believe will put quality on the plate.”

Speaking on the occasion of the first IHOP store launching in India, franchisee owner, Sameer Lamba, Managing Director of Kwal’s Group said, “Indians are much more open to eating American food. There is lot more knowledge now, compared to when MacDonald or KFC launched in India. The pancakes we have are 100 percent vegetarian. As for eggs, which are also well represented on our menu, they are an acceptable part of the diet in India. 90 percent of people eat eggs every day at home so it does not require any customisation.”

He added that IHOP was not an expensive restaurant and was definitely in a casual dining outlet. “We are concentrating on family customers. IHOP is about eating around with family. I think Rs 400 per head is very reasonable average if look at our serving sizes.”

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