Is IHOP A Local Business?

10/19/2011 09:13 am ET | Updated Dec 19, 2011

WASHINGTON -- Is IHOP a local business or a national chain? Or both? In suburban Wheaton, the owner of a IHOP franchise is upset that he wasn't invited to participate in this past weekend's World of Montgomery Festival. "I'm probably as local as you can get since I live just down the street," owner William Moore told Wheaton Patch. "I sometimes think they see the IHOP and they don't think of me as a locally owned chain."

The Wheaton Urban District, which organized the festival, handpicked vendors for regional and ethnic diversity, but told Patch that if Moore wanted to participate, he knew the festival was being planned and could have participated if he had asked.

It's not the first time questions have been raised about the local identity for a national chain like IHOP.

Last year, Lydia DePillis in Washington City Paper profiled a new IHOP restaurant in the District of Columbia, the newest franchise to set up shop in booming Columbia Heights. The D.C. government had set aside $46.9 million in tax increment financing for the massive DCUSA shopping complex and the developer reserved 15,000 square feet for small, local and minority-owned businesses in the building.

Enter IHOP franchise owner Tyoka Jackson, whose family-owned investment company, signed a three-restaurant deal with IHOP, including the Columbia Heights location.

According to DePillis:

In some ways, the Jacksons’ IHOP enterprise is a small business. They’ve put in the $1 million for construction, made hiring decisions, and will be the ones to lose their shirts if the place fails.

But the Jacksons have a few advantages an independent business could never claim. They get expert business consulting courtesy of the mothership, pooled television advertising, and supplies from a nationwide sourcing cooperative shared with corporate sister Applebees.

According to IHOP, 99 percent of its franchises are locally owned. As of June, there were 1,522 locations in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia, Canada, Guatemala, Mexico, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Flickr photo by StarsApart

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