IHOP Launches Global "Pancake Day" Dispute

A blog about business and economics.
Feb. 27 2012 10:40 AM

IHOP Launches Global "Pancake Day" Dispute

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ELGIN, IL - JULY 16: Signs mark the locations of neighboring IHOP and Applebee's restaurants July 16, 2007 in Elgin, Illinois.

Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

A press release just arrived in my inbox alerting me to the imminent arrival of the International House of Pancakes' National Pancake Day promotion tomorrow:

15 HOURS OF FREE FLAPJACKS AT IHOP FEBRUARY 28
National Pancake Day Returns To Benefit Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals And Other Local Charities with Assistance from Newly Crowned Miss America Laura Kaeppeler
WHAT:              For the seventh consecutive year, IHOP restaurants nationwide will offer each guest a free short stack of its famous buttermilk pancakes on National Pancake Day in an effort to raise awareness and funds for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and other local charities.
WHY:                For every short stack of buttermilk pancakes served on National Pancake Day, IHOP guests are invited to make a voluntary donation to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. IHOP hopes to raise $2.7 million this year, with a goal to bring the total amount of funds raised to more than $10 million.  To find a local IHOP or to donate online, visit www.ihoppancakeday.com.
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This naturally raises the question of why an international house of pancakes would be so focused on a national pancake day. It turns out, however, that in the non-U.S. portions of the English-speaking world, the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday (i.e., last Tuesday) is known as Pancake Tuesday. Here in the United States, we've gone Francophone via Louisiana and know it as Mardi Gras, but under either name the day celebrates the same thing. It actually seems like it would be smarter business strategy for IHOP to do the Pancake Day promotion on the day the Brits and Canadians call "Pancake Day" since presumably a pancake eatery would have a strong interest in bringing the association between pancakes and Lent into sharper view here in the USA.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.

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