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IHOP says ‘b’ is for burgers, temporarily

IHOP temporarily changed its name to "IHOb" to promote its new burger menu, the company said. | AP photo

NEW YORK — IHOP channeled Sesame Street on Monday as it ended speculation about its social media campaign about changing its name from IHOP to IHOb.

The “b” is for burger, and the temporary change is tied to a rollout of its new line of Ultimate Steakburgers, a line-up of seven sandwiches.

The pancake chain has been coy about whether the name flip is permanent, saying Monday that it was “for the time being.” Pressed for details, the company would not give an end date for IHOb but referred to the “tongue-in-cheek name change” and said it was tied to the summer burger promotion.

Proof that the chain can’t get away from its pancakes and breakfast, one of the new hamburgers is the Big Brunch, essentially breakfast on a burger: hickory-smoked bacon, a fried egg, a crispy browned potato, American cheese.

“Everyone knows that IHOP makes world-famous pancakes so we felt like the best way to convince them that we are as serious about our new line of Ultimate Steakburgers as we are about our pancakes, was to change our name to IHOb,” said Brad Haley, IHOP’s marketing chief. “We’ve pancaked pancakes for 60 years now so it’s the perfect time to start burgerin’ burgers.”

Some burger chains were quick to attack the new competition.

“Remember when you were like 7 and thought changing your name to Thunder BearSword would be super cool? Like that, but our cheeseburgers are still better,” tweeted Wendy’s.

“A replica by definition cannot be as good as the original,” tweeted Steak ‘n Shake. “The original #Steakburger was created by Steak ‘n Shake in 1934.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.