IHOP Secrets From Employees

August 07, 2019

Whether you prefer to start your day with a helping of IHOP pancakes, or you’d rather end your night at one of their 24-hour locations, everyone has a sweet spot for IHOP.

However, like most of our favorite locales, IHOP harbors secrets that higher ups would much prefer be kept swept under the rug.

But some employees, both current and former, have come clean online and all the juicy IHOP secrets have bubbled to the surface.

Three IHOP servers took to the forums between the span of 2011 and 2013 to spill all the goods via Reddit’s r/IAmA page.

It’s interesting to note that things have been pretty quiet on the Reddit AMA page in regards to IHOP, since these initial posts.

Is there a conspiracy afoot? Eh, probably not. But let’s pretend for the sake of this article.

If you’ve ever wondered what servers at IHOP would never eat, really think of their customers, and loathe about the daily IHOP grind, then get ready to eat up ~all~ the details.

These IHOP servers did their best to answer all of our IHOP-related inquiries, and TBH, some of you may look at your usual order in an entirely new light.

We apologize in advance.

1. IHOP can be one of the “cruddiest” places to work as a cook

For the amount of work the cooks do, it seems fair that they would get a share of the tips the servers pick up.

However, that’s oftentimes not the case. As Talwyn explains, some IHOP restaurants, as well as other franchises with busy traffic, allow cooks and busboys to receive some of the tips earned during a shift.

But other locations aren’t so lucky.

“It’s tough all around thought, and IHOP is one of the cruddiest places to work…” Talwyn wrote. “Food prices are average but the traffic isn’t.”

No matter if you’re being paid tip wage, minimum wage, or more, any job in the service industry is hard work that is often thankless.

2. The Monster Burger has way more calories than you’d expect.

When asked if they had ever eaten IHOP’s Mega Monster Burger, Reddit user Talwyn said that they only had it once during their time as an IHOP server.

“I don’t have that big of an appetite to have it that often,” they wrote. Too true.

At a whopping 1060 calories, one better have quite the craving for beef, cheese, onions, lettuce, and tomato to chow down on one of these bad boys.

We’re feeling bloated just thinking about it.

3. The AYCE pancakes special can get wild

When asked how many pancakes they have ever seen a customer consume, a night-shift IHOP waitress, who goes by violet_muerte on Reddit, said that they saw someone chow down on a total of 26 pancakes in one sitting.

“Someone once ate 26 pancakes from our All You Can Eat Pancakes(AYCE),” violet_muerte wrote. Woof.

For those who are unaware, IHOP’s AYCE Pancakes limited-time offer is exactly what it sounds like.

For a mere $4.99, customers can pack in as many buttermilk pancakes as they can muster, and each helping is served two at a time. Um…thanks, but no thanks.

4. Large groups can be a nightmare

When a charter bus filled with teens arrives at your IHOP doorstep, be prepared for the worst.

“They were highly rude, loud, and inconsiderate,” Talwyn writes. What’s even worse — “I got a total of 3 dollars from them.”

Yup. They said they were on a “fixed budget.” Rude AF.

However, Talwyn did experience a really nice large group during their time as an IHOP server. A group of anime con-goers were super pleasant, tipped well, and made the experience enjoyable.

“It’s not the size of the group that really matters… it’s how they treat you and are patient because they are a large group,” they write.

“And the large tips don’t hurt either. So if you ever go to a restaurant in a large group, be patient, understanding, and make sure that you tip your overworked server.”

True that.

5. Dressing is served on the side for a reason

An IHOP customer commented that they have a greater appreciation for servers after getting to know their local IHOP waitstaff after seeing how rude people treat them for tiny mistakes like getting their salad dressing served on the side.

Talwyn commented that their IHOP franchise automatically serves salad dressing on the side specifically to thwart any complaints of getting too much or too little dressing.

“That way they could control how much dressing was put on and we’d avoid that situation,” Talwyn wrote, referring to customer complaints.

And by doing this, the servers can say, ‘hey, man — it’s company policy.’

6. The deals are different at every IHOP

Besides national offers and deals, local IHOP restaurants will oftentimes offer their own unique savings deals.

One Redditor commented that their local North Carolina IHOP offers 50% off for college students every Thursday and Tuesday night.

However, as mandaxmarieee, an IHOP night shift waitress in Louisiana, pointed out, each location and each manager may offer unique deals.

“My manager is pretty generous with his discounts though,” mandaxmarieee wrote, “if he knows you you can eat for half off.”

Their location also provides specials for those celebrating their birthday, and recognizes all 20% off coupons.

We need to head to this location, stat!

7. IHOP pays the bare minimum

As Talwyn explained, when they worked at IHOP during the minimum-wage increase, IHOP literally increased their tip wage by the bare minimum — two cents to be specific.

For those who aren’t familiar with tip wage, most states do not require employers to pay their tipped employees full minimum wage.

Instead, they’ll often pay tipped employees either above or the same amount as the minimum cash wage required under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, which is $2.13 per hour.

Texas is currently a state that does not require employers to pay above the minimum cash wage, so technically the $2.15 is better than what other servers in Texas may be getting paid.

However, it’s still kind of a slap in the face, TBH.

8. Calling out the waitstaff for the cook’s fault is just wrong

This is honestly a not-so-secret secret for all restaurant waiters and waitresses.

“When the customers get all pissy for things that the cook did, or they get upset for the stupidest reason and take it out on you…it’s tough being a server,” Talwyn explained to a commenter who said their mother got upset when they were served unsweetened tea rather than sweet tea.

Talwyn said that everyone should work at least three months in the service industry in order to empathize with a server at their favorite restaurant.

“It’d make things go so much better, I think,” Talwyn wrote. We agree.

9. Leaving one bad review doesn’t seal someone’s fate

One Redditor asked, “What happens if a server gets a bad review on the survey that customers take?”

Violet_muerte said that it really depends if yours is the first piece of negative feedback a member of the waitstaff has received.

Getting a single bad review should never be a career ender — who knows? The person could have just been having an off day.

However, it’s always important to leave honest reviews when filling out a restaurant survey. This helps the manager keep their staff in line and maintain their restaurant’s positive image.

Don’t be afraid to speak your truth, people.

10. There’s a reason why the pancakes are so perfect

One Redditor pondered how the pancakes are IHOP are so perfect — “Are they made on a timer and the batter poured into a mold on the stove?” they asked.

“There’s actually a little tool…that they put the batter in,” Talwyn answered. “The cooks pour the batter into the open end, and there’s a lever they push down (2-3 times for a regular pancake, more for one of the huge kid ones) that dispenses the pancake onto the grill in a circular form.”

From there, it’s all about honing in on one’s flipping skills.

But after flipping about a gazillion pancakes per day, we can imagine the cooks get really good really fast.

11. The syrup is recycled

This sounds worse than it actually is.

When asked what the worst task is to complete, one IHOP waitress who goes by steenie on Reddit said that it has to be dealing with the syrup.

“They’re sticky and we have to recycle them which is really gross,” steenie wrote.

When asked what exactly “recycling syrup” means, they clarified. Basically, servers empty the syrup from the decorative jars back into the syrup warmer. They then rebottle the syrup the next day.

It doesn’t seem entirely hygienic, but at least they’re not wasting good syrup, we suppose.

12. It pays to know an IHOP manager.

As mandaxmarieee pointed out before, their manager often gave discounts to people he knew.

And later, they explained that the “Best way to get a discount, become friends with the manager(s).

One of my managers has his friends come in and eat for half price pretty often.”

Of course, we’re not sure if IHOP higher ups would be too happy with this information. But hey, an IHOP hack is an IHOP hack, right?

Mandaxmarieee also gave another Redditor advice about picking up an IHOP waitress…And TBH, we have no comment. To each their own, we suppose.

13. Customers can be…weird.

Although Talwyn received a strange request — a steak so undercooked that it was “pretty much mooing when I brought it out” — nothing quite beats the customer request one of their fellow servers got. And yeah, it’s bizarre.

“One of my fellow servers…told me a story about a guy who would pay $100 if he could have her panties.” We warned you.

Um…yeah. Definitely don’t give a customer your panties if they ask for them. Contact your manager immediately.

14. Order cheese on your hashbrowns.

A Reddit user asked, “How uncommon is ordering cheese on hashbrowns?

Every time I do it, the waiter/waitress looks at me like I just asked for Caviar,” and violet_muerte said that cheese on hashbrowns is actually a fairly common request. In fact, their stoked when their table asks for the combo.

“I’m usually glad they did [ask for cheese on hashbrowns] because that means [I’m] upselling which gets me more hours and sometimes a better tip,” violet_muerte wrote.

It’s a brilliant idea no matter how you slice it.

15. Don’t order the fruit

Steenie also advised their fellow Redditors to never order the fruit from IHOP. “It’s made with your dirty waiter’s hands and no cares about how fresh it is.” Gross.

They also said to never try the now-discontinued Tortilla Scramble. “That thing is like 3 days worth of food piled on to a plate,” steenie wrote. GROSS.

For those who don’t remember the Tortilla Scramble, it was an egg scramble served with “crispy yet soft tortilla chips, enchilada sauce with melted jack and cheddar cheeses topped with sour cream and chopped green onions.”

Yeah, we can imagine that wouldn’t be a big seller.

16. “Free Pancake Day” is Hell

We can only imagine. Hoards of people. Hoards of pancakes. And according to steenie, the kids who arrive in the busloads on Free Pancake Day rarely tip well.

They add, “kids don’t tip for shit to begin with.” True, TBH.

So, it’s a lot of work for not a lot of money. Nice.