Local IHOPs across the country are giving away free short stacks of buttermilk pancakes Tuesday, but they're asking for a donation to a well-known charity in return.
IHOP is celebrating its eighth National Pancake Day, and from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m. Tuesday, every IHOP location will be serving free short stacks of buttermilk pancakes in exchange for a donation to the Shriners Children's Hospitals and Charities.
Local managers say they expect the amount of customers they usually serve to double on Tuesday.
But they also say it's the donations IHOP will make to the Shriners Children's Hospitals and Charities that make the effort worth it.
"It's turning out to be one of our busiest days of the year. It is a fun day. We have clowns. There's just so many people here. Everybody comes in to get their free short-stack and donate to the Shriners, which help children," said Pam Franklin, the general manager of IHOP in Tyler. "They help children that need surgeries. They also help with glasses and all kinds of stuff."
Franklin says her Tyler IHOP plans to serve 800 free short stacks of buttermilk pancakes today, and they only ask one thing in return.
"To donate whatever you can to the Shriners on your way out," she said.
IHOP restaurants served more than 4 million free pancakes in 2012 and earned more than $3 million for the Shriners.
They've earned more than $10 million in donations for the charity in the last seven years, and this year, they're hoping to raise another $3 million toward that total.
It's a day IHOP regular Shane Jones says he never misses.
"I come to Free Pancake Day every year simply because it's free, it's for a good cause, it's for the Shriners," he said. "I think other restaurants should use this for an example."
And he's got a piece of advice for all the Pancake Day newbies out there.
"They get really busy, and a lot of people don't want to wait in line, but if they just wait in line it'll be worth it," said Jones.
"It's just a good time. And you're going to have a blast right here. It's like a big party all day long. With pancakes," Franklin said, laughing.
IHOP says National Pancake Day 2012 was the restaurant's largest one-day event in the company's 54-year history.
Click here to find your local IHOP or to donate to the Shriners online on Pancake Day.
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