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Caring for the Environment

From the food we sell to the buildings in which our iconic brands are housed, our business affects the environment. In addition to complying with applicable laws and regulations, our teams work to promote compliance among our suppliers.

Our Concern for Animals

We believe in and support efforts within our industry for responsible sourcing and improving the welfare of farm animals. When creating policies and practices related to farm animals we consider impacts on animal health and well-being, the environment, food safety, worker health and safety, consumer preferences and food affordability. We also rely on animal welfare experts to guide our policies:

  • Suzanne T. Millman, B.Sc.(Agr), Ph.D., Associate Professor of Animal Welfare, Iowa State University
  • Cassandra Tucker, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Animal Science, University of California

All commitments are dependent on supplier capabilities. While regularly evolving, the following commitments are highlights of our dedication to animal welfare:

Cage-free eggs:

  • United States: We have committed to an egg supply that is derived 100% from hens housed in a cage-free environment by 2025.
  • Latin America: We have committed to an egg supply that is derived 100% from hens housed in a cage free environment by 2025 conditioned upon supplier availability and consumer affordability.

Gestation crates:

  • United States: We have committed to a pork supply that does not use gestation crates by 2020.

Our brands accounts for only a small fraction of the animal-based products purchased each year, making our ability to impact industry-wide practices somewhat limited. Regardless, we will continue to explore opportunities to improve the treatment of farm animals within the context of our business and the industry.

The Environment

We're regularly looking for new ways to reduce our impact on the environment through improvements in how we supply, design, build and maintain our restaurants. Our IHOP® and Applebee's® Restaurant Support Center is housed in a LEED Platinum Certified building.

Our Restaurant Support Center is also engaged in a variety of recycling efforts. In fact, we have recycled nearly 49 tons of paper material over the years. This equates to:

  • 831 trees saved
  • 18,569 gallons of oil saved
  • 342,055 gallons of water saved
  • 147 cubic yards of landfill space

Examples like this are encouraging and reinforce our belief that we are making progress. We gain valuable learning through various pilot programs and tests and will be expanding our learning in the coming years to many of our IHOP restaurants through a series of Green initiatives. Not all restaurants will be able to take advantage of every initiative, but we're excited about this important and broad-reaching step.

Green Initiatives* - IHOP

List of initiatives:

  • Automatic plumbing fixtures
    • Faucets that reduce water usage
  • Waterless urinals and/or very low flow (VLF) fixtures
  • Energy saving products
    • Devices that automatically turn off lights,
    • Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning controls that coordinate with kitchen equipment to maximize efficiency
  • Low Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) interior paint
  • Solar reflective windows
  • Greener cleaning products
  • Energy generated from renewable sources like wind, solar and geothermal

*Not all IHOP restaurants will implement all initiatives


We source a large amount of paper and plastic goods for our restaurants. In choosing vendors, we not only consider quality and price, but we are also beginning to look at other factors including the amount of recycled content, the types of bleaches, inks or dyes used, and whether sustainable forestry and production practices were utilized. By working with vendors who share our interest in and commitment to good practices, we hope over time to improve the environmentally-friendly attributes of the goods we purchase.

We have removed 95% of all polystyrene packaging products used in our "to go" orders. We have replaced this with 100% recyclable packaging, allowing safe and clean transport and reducing our impact on local landfills. We are currently working on final products that will make us 100% polystyrene free.

Energy Consumption

We continue working to reduce the energy consumption in our restaurants and our Restaurant Support Center. For example, nearly all offices in our in non-restaurant facilities have motion-activated light switches that automatically lower or turn off the lights if no movement is detected after a period of time.

Many of our restaurants have late-night or 24-hour operations, so we are mindful about eliminating lighting for security reasons. However, we have been aggressive about replacing traditional lighting with compact florescent lighting wherever possible. Each light saves about $30 over its lifetime and pays for itself in about 6 months. It uses 75% less energy and lasts about 10 times longer than an incandescent bulb.

Waste and Recycling

A number of our environmental programs focus on reducing waste generated by our operations. We continue to look for ways to eliminate, reuse or recycle potential waste. One example is the regular recycling of used cooking oil at most of our restaurants.