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IHOP taps geolocation to heat up awareness for all-day breakfast

Restaurant chain IHOP is attempting to drive in-store traffic by relying on geolocation technology to adapt its mobile site to reflect each user’s time zone, further ramping up interest in its new all-day breakfast offerings.

IHOP is gearing up to attract breakfast fans of all ages to visit one of its restaurants and partake in the Double-Dipped French Toast promotion. As more quick service marketers introduce all-day breakfast menus in a bid to appeal to larger numbers of consumers, IHOP is setting itself apart from competitors by foraying into geolocation and sending the right contextual message to potential customers.

“IHOP has been using geo-location targeting on mobile for a number of our past campaigns to target and reach our guests wherever and whenever they are, especially as an effective way of reaching them at a moment when they may be deciding where to eat,” said Darrin Kellaris, executive director of marketing for IHOP, Glendale, CA.

“For our latest promotional window, Double-Dipped French Toast, we have deployed this successful marketing tactic to and to visually reinforce and remind site visitors that IHOP has been the leader in serving breakfast all day for over 57 years and the place to go for innovative, custom made, fresh-for-you items like this newest iteration of French Toast.”

Buttering up sales
As the battle for breakfast fans becomes more intense, IHOP is hoping to break the mold by employing a never-before-tapped strategy in the food and beverage sector. To introduce its new Double-Dipped French Toast menu item, the brand is changing up its mobile and desktop site to accurately reflect consumers’ exact locations.

IHOP’s mobile and desktop sites will morph into a background featuring the visitor’s local time zone. However, consumers will see breakfast options the second they log on, enabling them to view the full morning menu regardless of whether they are viewing the site during the day or night.

For example, if a customer logs onto the IHOP mobile site at 8 PM, the site will showcase a nighttime background image for the French Toast. The marketer hopes that the notion of having breakfast at any time, day or night, will be more easily ingrained in consumers’ thoughts.

Consequently, consumers who find themselves craving a breakfast meal at an atypical time will likely remember that their taste buds can be satisfied at IHOP.

The geolocation-enabled mobile properties will be running through April 10.

Firing up competition
All-day breakfast options have been making the rounds with several major quick service chains – all of whom have leveraged mobile strategy to make their new breakfast offerings more widely known.

McDonald’s celebrated the rollout of its all-day breakfast menu by enticing Southern California residents to post photos of their meals using the #AllDayBreakfast hashtag on Twitter or Instagram for a chance to win coupons and prizes (see story).

IHOP has also been building up a stronger presence on mobile in the last few months, particularly when it comes to driving customer engagement on social media.

IHOP recently drizzled mobile strategy onto its efforts to drive in-store traffic by asking customers to upload photos of their empty stacks of pancake dishes onto Instagram for a chance to win a prize (see story).

The brand believes this current promotion and use of geolocation technology will bolster its digital initiatives even more.

“Our Double-Dipped efforts include television, radio, digital, social, a robust public relations campaign and presence on our Web site,” Mr. Kellaris said. “At the end of the day, the Web site serves as a forum for IHOP to showcase its unique, innovative and freshly made breakfast offerings guests can’t find anywhere else.

“By incorporating geolocation technology, we are able to reinforce this, and at the same time visually remind our guests and ‘breakfastarians’ everywhere that they can get Double Dipped French Toast any time of day.”