The food gods have answered your grumbling belly’s prayers. That’s right, you can now order vegan breakfast at IHOP.
The International House of Pancakes is testing its first plant-based offering—a vegan breakfast sandwich—at one of its fast-casual Flip’d by IHOP locations, which is nestled in the Flatiron District of New York City.
The new vegan breakfast sandwich, dubbed the Cali Plant-Based Sammie, features a pea protein-based sausage patty that Sweet Earth designed exclusively for IHOP. The plant-based brand carries a number of vegan and vegetarian products, including bacon strips, deli slices, hot dogs, sausages, and pizzas.
The breakfast sandwich also includes a mung bean-based egg by vegan egg brand JUST Egg, arugula, roasted tomatoes, and avocado—all served on a vegan bun.
IHOP launched the breakfast sandwich after two years of testing. If the trial at its Flatiron location goes well, the new breakfast offering could expand to the menus of other locations.
IHOP goes fast casual
Famed for its piping hot stacks of buttered pancakes, IHOP launched its Flip’d concept last September, opening the first location in Lawrence, Kansas. The offshoot differs from its homey, sit-down counterpart in that it’s designed to serve fast-casual, made-to-order breakfast, lunch, and dinner for on-the-go.
“Since we originally announced Flip’d in 2019, a lot has changed. We wanted to ensure that we were evolving the concept to meet our guests’ needs,” said Jay Johns, IHOP’s president. “While we know there is a pent-up demand for a return to dining in restaurants, we anticipate that our delivery and takeout business is here to stay as consumer needs continue to shift and they seek out different ways to experience IHOP favorites.”
In addition to breakfast sandwiches, the menu includes the likes of pancake bowls, chicken sandwiches, burgers, as well as burritos and burrito bowls.
IHOP is set to open additional locations of Flip’d in Cincinnati, Ohio, in April and Silver Springs, Maryland, in May.
Veganism takes fast food
Flip’d by IHOP is the latest fast-casual chain to add a vegan option to its menu.
The company’s competitor, Denny’s, added a plant-based burger, featuring Beyond Meat, to its menu in 2020, following a short trial in Los Angeles. According to the chain’s website, it’s now “currently exploring additional plant-based protein items.”
The vegan retail food sector grew by more than 11 percent at the start of the pandemic, reaching $5 billion, according to the Plant Based Foods Association. So it’s no surprise that fast-food chains like Burger King, Carl’s Jr., and McDonald’s—which have all launched plant-based options—are rushing to meet the growing demand.
But including vegan options on menus also gives these otherwise “junky” fast food concepts a healthier image.
According to Numerator, dietary restrictions are not the main reason people are trying plant-based meats. Health and curiosity are the primary drivers, reports the market research firm, although vegans and vegetarians are predominantly motivated by ethical and environmental concerns.