Moncton — With more than $25 million in sales since opening Jan. 14, it’s clear that New Brunswickers love IHOP — but not everyone is a fan.
Taking a break from the coronavirus file, New Brunswick’s chief medical officer said she is concerned by reports of steady lineups outside the American pancake house chain, which could see the province reclaim the unwanted distinction of fattest province in the country.
“It really shows where our priorities are one month into the new year,” Dr. Jennifer Russell told The Manatee. “Before Christmas there were lineups for liquor. Now people are lined up in droves so they can get their flapjack and bacon fix. As a doctor it’s concerning.”
But patrons are in no mood for a lecture. Take Guy Arsenault, a 48-year-old father of four who brought his family for their first IHOP visit after Sunday’s church service.
“We really enjoyed it. Never really been a vegetable guy, and there’s nothing close to a vegetable on the entire menu. There are literally hundreds of items to choose from and the portions are MASSIVE.”
While Arsenault insisted his meal was “amazing,” he admits he felt a tad lethargic afterwards.
“With a name like IHOP, I figured I’d leave feeling a little bit more energetic. Hopping was the last thing I wanted to do. Instead, I spent the rest of the afternoon passed out on the couch and missed the Super Bowl. I guess that’s what happens when you ingest three days’ worth of calories in one sitting. Oh well, I’ll be back.”
The fact people keep coming back despite the indigestion is music to the ears of William Urrego, Regional VP and General Manager of Dine Brands Global, IHOP’s parent company. When reached by phone at his sunny California beach house, he said the Moncton franchise has shattered all expectations.
“January is typically the slow season for fast food chains, with the diets and resolutions and all that junk. In most cities across North America, you tend to see more lineups for a treadmill at the local gym. Not here though! It’s perfect.”
Williams said Canada’s first IHOP franchise opened in Toronto in 1969, but he isn’t sure why it took so long for the chain to expand to the Maritimes.
“Clearly it’s a lucrative market that’s been under our noses all these years. New Brunswickers obviously lack discipline. That’s why we are planning for a rapid expansion in the region. It’s a bonanza! Muahaha!”
While Dr. Russell is optimistic that IHOP will lose some of its shine when the novelty factor wears off, she is resigned to the fact that New Brunswickers are grossly uninformed when it comes to their health.
“The people who are deathly afraid of the coronavirus are the same folks plopping their arses down at IHOP. Let me assure you — statistically speaking, IHOP’s Chicken and Bacon Cheddar Waffles are 1,483 times more hazardous to your health than any Chinese flu virus. I HOPE folks heed my warning.”