In a move that is somehow mind-boggling and peculiarly interesting at the same time, IHOP and Applebee’s are flirting with the idea of sharing a roof, creating a hybrid chain mashup that could make its way to Lafayette, Louisiana. This concept, still in the prototype phase under Dine Brands Global, the parent company of both chains, aims to blend the breakfast legacy of IHOP with the 2-for-20 casual dining vibes of Applebee’s into one seamless experience.

Do we even have an Applebee's or an IHOP?

While Lafayette is known more for its local restaurants and cuisine that is hard to find outside of Cajun Country, the city actually houses two IHOP locations and an Applebee’s that has notably withstood the test of time near the Acadiana Mall, possibly thanks to its prime location near a bustling Texas Roadhouse? The potential of these two chains coming together raises the question: Could Lafayette be on the list to receive one of these zany joint ventures?

What do we call this place?

This morning on air we teased the monikers “AppleHop” or “HoppleBee’s,” as the concept definitely carries its fair share of sticker shock, but also enough curiosity for you to almost wonder what would this experience really be like if it happened.

The combined menu would aim to cater to diners at all hours, offering pancakes for breakfast and boneless wings for dinner, potentially doubling the revenue of standalone restaurants, as mentioned in Dine Brands Global's recent earnings call.

Why combine the restaurants?

The initiative comes at a time when Applebee’s is looking to rebound from a contraction that saw the brand close 46 locations in 2023, while IHOP expanded its footprint. By sharing spaces, the brands not only aim to cut down on operational costs but also to offer a richer variety to patrons, tapping into different meal times throughout the day.

Again, the concept of dual-branded restaurants is not new.

Of course, we can point to the KFC-Taco Bell hybrids, but a more recent example would be companies like Focus Brands pioneering the approach with combinations like Auntie Anne’s and Cinnabon. These establishments have even opened up beyond malls, finding success in busy streetside locations, but does that point to a promising future for the IHOP-Applebee’s duo being that the offerings are so starkly different?

There's actually hope

Internationally, the concept has already taken off, with eight IHOP-Applebee’s combos operating, including a location in Leon, Mexico. These international endeavors serve as a "test bed," providing valuable insights as Dine Brands Global contemplates rolling out this model in the U.S. market.

Who knows; Lafayette residents might soon find themselves deciding between a stack of pancakes and a steak dinner under the same roof. As Dine Brands Global keeps an eye on the success of its international prototypes, Lafayette can only sit and wait when it comes to the potential arrival of this culinary mashup.

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