LUMBERTON — The pancakes at the new International House of Pancakes are selling like — well like — hotcakes.
Since the new Lumberton restaurant opened on Nov. 8, more than 9,000 customers have come through the door, exceeding the initial target of 7,000 diners.
“We’re very satisfied,” said district manager Mohamed Ali. “Our performance has been very strong.”
The 24-hour establishment specializes in pancakes, with everything from the traditional buttermilk version to sweet-sounding specials like Chocolate Chocolate Chip, Double Blueberry, Tiramisu and Jelly Donut pancakes. The restaurant also offers healthier fare with a long list of items under 600 calories.
IHOP serves a full breakfast menu all day, including waffles, crepes, French toast and omelets. It also offers lunch and dinner choices, including burgers, salads and sandwiches. The Lumberton location features a senior’s menu and a “Kids Eat Free menu.” Entrees range in price from $7.29 to $13.99.
“I’m very excited there is an IHOP in town now,” said Tate Haymon, who was dining there for the first time last week.
The early success of the Lumberton IHOP could be attributed in part to its placement near the corridor of Interstate 95.
“We’re excited that they’ve come and feel that their success will have a spillover effect in the community,” Lumberton Area Chamber of Commerce Chairman Danny Cook said. “Businesses along I-95 have the benefit of visibility and people who are traveling along the interstate have easier access to them.”
Construction on the 5,000 square-foot building began in July. The restaurant hired 150 people in anticipation of the opening, according to Ali.
While IHOP has seen a steady influx of traffic over the past two weeks, Ali predicts that the holidays will bring more crowds.
“We don’t know yet, but I have a feeling we’re going to be pretty busy on Thanksgiving,” he said.
Founded in 1958, the California-based restaurant chain comprises more than 15,000 franchise locations across the country. Eagles Landing Restaurants owns six IHOP restaurants in North Carolina and South Carolina, including the latest Lumberton restaurant.
IHOP’s location off the interstate puts it in direct competition with Waffle House and Huddle House, two nearby 24-hour restaurants that also specialize in breakfast food.
Ali isn’t all that worried about the competition.
“They should be concerned,” he said jokingly.
Henry Davis, who was on his second IHOP visit Wednesday night, appears to agree.
“I’m very excited they’re here; the service is great,” Davis said. “I would recommend it to anyone who loves pancakes.”