IHOP on Tuesday caps off a month of fundraising for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals with its annual offer of free pancakes.
From 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Tuesday, IHOP restaurants within the 1,532-unit chain are offering free short stacks of buttermilk pancakes to celebrate National Pancake Day. Guests are asked to make a voluntary donation to the children’s hospital network.
Patrick Lenow, a spokesman for IHOP parent DineEquity Inc., based in Glendale, Calif., said National Pancake Day has become the chain’s biggest day of the year in both sales and traffic, in part because of the focused media coverage of the event and social media traffic.
“For us, it’s about giving back to the community; that’s first and foremost,” he said. “But it demonstrates the value of a win-win. It’s our busiest day of the year and there’s a residual effect all week.”
Watch an IHOP public service announcement with NFL Hall of Fame member Steve Young; story continues below
This is the event’s seventh year, and IHOP officials said they hope to raise $2.7 million with the month-long campaign. Last year, IHOP’s fundraising goal of $2.3 million was exceeded and $2.5 million was collected for the hospitals and other charities.
This year’s effort included the sale of “Miracle Balloons” for $1 and $5 in restaurants. Customers were also invited to sign up for a Celebrity Wake-Up Call, which they will receive Tuesday to remind them to go to IHOP for free pancakes. Participating celebrities include singers Marie Osmond, David Archuleta and Jordin Sparks, as well as Twilight star Boo Boo Stewart, Disney XD star Brendan Meyer and Miss America 2012 Laura Kaeppeler.
The chain also held a “Stacks for Good Acts” contest inviting guests to nominate someone who has done a good deed. The winner is eligible to receive free pancakes for a year.
Though initially tied to the traditional Shrove Tuesday holiday that precedes the period of Lent leading up to Easter, IHOP is holding National Pancake Day on Tuesday to mark the end of the month of fundraising.
Since the promotion began in 2006, IHOP has raised nearly $8 million and given away nearly 14 million pancakes for the cause.