IHOP History


The first International House of Pancakes restaurant opened in 1958 in a suburb of Los Angeles: Toluca Lake, California. The American eating public quickly took to the concept of a restaurant based on one of America’s favorite foods – pancakes. Within four years the number of units had increased to nearly 50, with many of the restaurants being operated by franchisees.

Robert Sharp has been involved with IHOP restaurants in various positions for over forty five years.  He has been a franchisee for twenty three years and serves on IHOP’s executive Board of Advisors where he advises DineEquity’s Chairman and CEO, Julia Stewart, and the IHOP executive team.   Robert Sharp is the President of Sharp Holding Inc., a restaurant management company that operates IHOP Restaurants in 5 states: Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, Kentucky, New Jersey, and soon Ohio.

Major milestones in IHOP’s and Sharp’s histories:

1960 IHOP begins to expand through franchising
1961 The IHOP company becomes publicly traded under the name International House of Pancakes.
1963 The IHOP Company adopts the name International Industries after it acquires numerous franchised brands, which it controls throughout the 60s. Brands include: International House of Pancakes, Orange Julius, Love’s Wood Pit Barbecue, Golden Cup Coffee Shops, The Original House of Pies, Wil Wright’s Ice Cream Shoppes, among others.
1970 Robert Sharp joins International House of Pancakes.
1973 The IHOP acronym is used for the first time in a marketing promotion.
1978 The IHOP Company enters the Japanese market.
1979 A Swiss company acquires a controlling interest in the IHOP Company.
1983 The last A-frame IHOP is built. The new building prototypes were more efficient and could accommodate more business but still retained key image characteristics of the famous A-frame including the familiar blue roof.
1985 The IHOP Company introduces The Rooty Tooty Fresh ‘N Fruity, which became one of IHOP’s most successful promotions and guests had fun saying it.
1987 Actor Cliff Bemis becomes an IHOP favorite appearing in commercials from the mid-80s through the mid-90s.
1987 The IHOP Company reverts back to American ownership.
1990s IHOP grows through franchising, increasing the number of restaurants from 490 to over 900. Awareness of the brand exceeds 98 percent.
1991 IHOP moves its headquarters to Glendale, California, and becomes publicly traded on the NASDAQ Stock Market under the symbol “IHOP”.
1992 IHOP opens its 500th restaurant.
1992 Robert Sharp buys his first IHOP Franchise in Wheaton, Maryland
1993 IHOP’s average sales per restaurant exceeds one million dollars.
1994 Robert Sharp opens his second IHOP in Fairfax, Virginia, which was the first IHOP in history to exceed three million in sales.
1997 Robert Sharp wins Franchisee of the Year.
1998 Robert Sharp forms Sharp Holding, Inc., a restaurant management company.
1999 IHOP begins to trade on the New York Stock Exchange, under the symbol “IHP”.
2000 Tommy Tsitouris joins the Sharp Holding company to operate and help expand it.
2001 IHOP opens its 1000th location in Layton, Utah.
2002 Julia A. Stewart is appointed president of IHOP Corp.
2002 Sharp Holding, Inc., opens the first IHOP in West Virginia.
2002 Governor Bob Wise stands in the General Assembly with Robert Sharp and Julia Stewart and makes her an honorary citizen of West Virginia. He also thanks Robert Sharp for committing to build more restaurants in the state and creating much needed jobs.
2003 The award-winning “Come hungry. Leave happy.” advertising campaign launches and IHOP introduces our popular Stuffed French Toast.
2003 Robert Sharp signs a development agreement to build 8 stores in West Virginia.
2003 Sharp Holding expands to New Jersey.
2004 IHOP wins the prestigious Advertising and Marketing Awareness award for the “Come hungry. Leave happy.” campaign.
2004 Jane Manning, a long-term and loyal Sharp company team memer, comes up with the idea of Funnel Cakes and tests them in several Sharp Holding restaurants.
2005 Due to the success of the Funnel Cakes, IHOP Corp introduces them as a national limited time offer and it becomes one of the chains most successful promotions.
2006 IHOP opens its 1250th location.
2006 New ICON building prototype is introduced as the look for IHOP in the new millennium.
2006 Sharp Holding, builds the new ICON prototype building in Charlestown, WV.
2007 IHOP Corp acquires Applebees International, increasing company’s restaurants to 3300 units, making it the largest full-service restaurant company in the world.
2008 IHOP celebrates 50 years with over 1400 restaurants.
2010 IHOP opens its 1500th location in Washington, DC.
2010 The Sharp Holding company expands to Kentucky.
2011 IHOP celebrates its sixth National Pancake Day. In just six years, IHOP has raised $8 million in support of the communities where we do business! IHOP also becomes the inaugural leader in the Kids LiveWell initiative.
2012 IHOP launches the new “Everything You Love About Breakfast™” campaign, including our first brand anthem TV spot and guest testimonials.
2014 IHOP continues its growth as a truly International House of Pancakes with more than 70 locations in Bahrain, Canada, Dubai (UAE), Guatemala, Kuwait, Mexico, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Saudi Arabia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
2015 IHOP celebrates a decade of giving with the 10th Annual National Pancake Day. A record-breaking $3.5 million is raised, bringing the 10-year total to nearly $20 million for charity. IHOP launches a new logo, giving guests one more reason to smile.
2015 Sharp Holding expands into Ohio.