IHOP's Free Pancake Day Is Great for (Almost) Everyone

March 8th 2016

Aron Macarow

March 8 of 2016 is National Pancake Day, a day eagerly anticipated by many because it's come to mean one thing: Free pancakes at IHOP.

But while the stacks on stacks on stacks offered by International Pancake Day are a blessing to carbo-loaders everywhere, they can be a curse to the servers who provide the syrupy bounty.

So, What's The History of International Pancake Day?

Since 2006, IHOP restaurants nationwide have participated in the made-up annual holiday, and each year they have some type of promotion. Last year, IHOP gave out a free short stack of pancakes to any dine-in customer for the celebration, serving a massive 6.6 million free pancakes.

And 2016 is expected to be no different, with IHOP locations dishing out three free buttermilk pancakes anytime between 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. to all eager flapjack lovers. In exchange, they simply encourage you donate to a local charity, like the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals, to share your gratitude.

Sounds Great! What's The Problem?

While you're savoring the victory of your free short stack, don't forget to tip your waiter on the actual value of your meal. Because of loopholes that exist in minimum wage legislation across the country, chances are high that they're making less than minimum wage — and that your tips are subsidizing a large portion of their paycheck.

Relying on Tips is a Difficult Way to Make a Living.

According to the Restaurant Opportunities Center United, tipped restaurant workers "live in poverty at 2.5 times the rate of the overall workforce." And there's a reason why: only seven U.S. states and Guam require tipped workers to be paid the same minimum wage as non-tipped workers. Meanwhile, seventeen states allow employers to pay their servers as low as $2.13 per hour, an amount that hasn't increased since 1991.

Although employers are expected to make up the difference if their staff aren't making at least the federal minimum wage ($7.25) after tips, that doesn't always happen. As ATTN: has reported previously, this leaves tipped workers like your IHOP server reliant on public assistance programs, such as Medicaid and food stamps, to make up the gap. It also means that your server is at the mercy of your post-meal generosity for part of their income, otherwise they could be going home making as little as $17.04 before taxes on an 8-hour shift in some states.

It gets worse.

As if the paltry pay for tipped restaurant workers wasn't bad enough, large restaurant groups also spend large sums on lobbying efforts to keep minimum wages low for their employees. As ATTN: has reported, Dine Equity (which owns both IHOP and Applebee's) has spent $930,000 on such lobbying in the past. Perhaps that's one reason why this map of legal minimum wages for tipped workers looks as sad as it does:

Watch our video below to learn more about how the restaurant industry is quietly passing the buck on labor costs to the consumer, and sign ATTN:'s petition to raise the minimum wage here.

The 2 Disturbing Ways Restaurants Are Quietly Ripping You Off

The 2 Disturbing Ways Restaurants Are Quietly Ripping You Off

Posted by ATTN: on Wednesday, 20 May 2015