IHOP to open non-traditional units in Ontario next year

IHOP is opening five non-traditional restaurants in Ontario from the start of next year.

The first of the new locations, scheduled to open at the beginning of 2022, will be at the 10 Acre Truck Stop, a landmark location in Belleville, Ont.

IHOP Belleville will be a one-of-a-kind restaurant and one of the first IHOPs to open in Ontario outside of Niagara Falls. Construction begins in August 2021, with an opening date of February 2022. $2 million is set to be invested into the new restaurant, which will employ over 60 staff and seat up to 184 guests.

Four others will follow, set to be in Hamilton, London, Waterloo, and Windsor.

IHOP, which boasts thousands of restaurants in the U.S., currently has seven locations in Niagara Falls and another 19 in total across B.C., Alberta, Manitoba, and New Brunswick.

Kailash Kasal, President of K2 Group, entered the non-traditional restaurant franchisee deal with California-based Dine Brands International, a full-service dining company franchising IHOP and Applebee’s restaurants in Canada. The agreement calls for a minimum of five IHOP restaurant openings over the next five years.

K2 Group acquired the 10 Acre Truck Stop in Belleville in May 2021 and decided it would be an ideal location for an IHOP restaurant because of its iconic reputation and dedicated clientele.

A press release says the upcoming IHOP opening will further solidify K2 Group’s commitment to serving the 10 Acre truck-driving guests and the community of Belleville by offering delicious diner-style food at reasonable prices and keeping the employees who have worked at the location for decades.

“Having a superb restaurant offering at the 10 Acre Truck Stop is crucial to ensuring our truckers and local customers have a place to come and gather,” says Kasal. “With more than 25 years in the hospitality business, we’re confident that we will thrive as we work to meet our guests where they are by providing an all-round exceptional experience and, of course, the world’s most famous pancakes.”

“We are pleased to push forward with our international expansion plans and believe working with K2 Group creates the perfect opportunity to successfully build and grow our portfolio across Ontario,” says Tony Moralejo, President of Dine Brands International. “We are optimistic that the market is well-positioned to get back to its pre-pandemic growth momentum as we bring jobs, as well as our local and hand-made to order menu items to our Canadian neighbours.” 

“I am excited with the news of this further enhancement to the 10 Acre Truck Stop,” says Mayor Mitch Panciuk, City of Belleville. “K2 Group has already invested significantly in the property, improving service and bringing back many former travellers to this iconic site. The addition of an IHOP restaurant is great news to our truckers and all residents of Belleville, who are thrilled to soon be part of the IHOP Family.” 

IHOP has developed a number of new prototypes for stores and expansion, a goal cited by executives as a key strategic objective. It also plans to launch a spinoff later this year called Flip’d, which features a scaled-down menu and less seating than an IHOP sports.

The chain is also looking to develop an array of virtual restaurant concepts that would function as delivery-only add-ons to restaurants currently in operation.

It had revealed in late 2019 that it was embarking on a long-awaited Canadian expansion with a plan to open 15 new locations across the GTA over seven years.