Hawaii to get 6 more IHOPs in next decade
Six more IHOP restaurants are coming to Hawaii in the next decade and the first of them will be in Waikiki.
A new IHOP franchisee has been selected for the islands that will join the local franchise that already runs one IHOP location on Maui and has one under construction at Windward Mall.
Restaurateurs Vince and Sarah Espino of San Francisco have moved to Hawaii from California as exclusive franchisees of any more IHOP restaurants that open in the state.
James and Rennie West keep their restaurant in Kahului, Maui, and the Windward Mall eatery, but the Espinos will develop any additional restaurants.
"We've signed up for six locations; we are working on our first one" for a Waikiki location, said Sarah Espino, president of Hawaii-based Union MAK Corp., the new franchisee. Her husband, Vince, is chairman.
Formerly the International House of Pancakes, IHOP started in 1958 and has 1,218 restaurants in 48 states and Canada.
Sarah would not provide the location of the planned IHOP in Waikiki since the lease is not yet signed.
The Espinos met James West at an IHOP convention in Florida last month but have yet to meet Rennie, mother of "American Idol" finalist, performer and sometime-pancake-waitress Camile Velasco.
"We are doing our research on where the second one (should go). Honolulu itself could accommodate two," Sarah Espino said, citing Ward Center and Ala Moana Center as examples. She also mentioned possible development on the Big Island and Kauai.
The Espinos "are new to our system but they are experienced restaurateurs," said Patrick Lenow, director of public relations and communications for IHOP, based in Glendale, Calif. The couple runs two Fuddrucker's hamburger restaurants in the San Francisco Bay area.
The Windward Mall IHOP is to open by the end of the year amid a construction boom, meaning contractors are hard to find, and amid a worker shortage.