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IHOP Celebrates National Pancake Day With A Fundraising Drive

We purposely feature different types of restaurant promotions here so you, our dear readers, can get as much promotional ideas as possible (read our article Boost Your Sales by Giving Customers New Things to Buzz About). There’s just so many out there that you can get inspiration from, fine-tune it to apply to your restaurant concept, budget and market, and come up with your very own promotion.

One recent interesting campaign we have this start of the year is IHOP’s celebration of the National Pancake Day on February 28. The chain brings into play America’s penchant for food holidays and combines it with an element of social responsibility by way of a charitable fundraising campaign; and the result is a successful yearly PR stunt that gets great media mileage as well as enormous customer support.

Now on their seventh year of observing the National Pancake Day, IHOP once again invites its customers to enjoy their free pancakes on the said day. At the same time, the chain encourages its customers to make donations in support of their fundraising drive for various worthy causes like the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and other local charities.

“We have had regular guests coming over to support us over the years, and we’re expecting a lot of new ones, too,” said IHOP’s President Jean Birch. “We have very generous guests, supportive franchisees and a very valuable team, in their functional restaurant uniforms, which always make us surpass our fundraising targets every year. As we hope to reach $2.7 million in 2012, we are setting our hopes higher—optimistic that we will be able to bring our cumulative charitable fund drives over the past years to $10 million.”

On this year’s National Pancake Day, over 1,500 IHOP locations across the U.S. will serve their guests a complimentary stack of IHOP’s signature pancakes all throughout the day, starting at 7 a.m. and ending at 10 p.m. The guests are then encouraged to make voluntary donations to the Children’s Miracle Network Hospital and a list of other local charities that they can choose from.

The Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, founded in 1983, raise funds for children’s hospitals to help kids who are suffering from common childhood sicknesses like asthma and broken bones, or in battling more serious conditions like birth defects or cancer. As of 2011, the organization has raised more than $4.3 billion to provide comfort, treatment and hope to millions of diseased kids each year.

The participating IHOP stores also have their staff in superior restaurant uniforms sell red and yellow “Miracle Balloons,” the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals’ familiar symbol and fundraising tool, sold at $1 and $5 each. Guests who buy the $5 Miracle Balloon are given IHOP Discount Coupons worth $5 that could be used in their next visit, applicable to a $20 or more purchase of any IHOP food and drink items.