Pancake chain's founder dies at 76

By 1973, however, a combination of tightening credit, over-expansion and recession had crippled the company, leading Lapin to sell his stake for just $50,000…In 1989, he declared bankruptcy.

The Toronto Star
June 21, 2004

Pancake chain's founder dies at 76

LOS ANGELES—Al Lapin Jr., an entrepreneur who co-founded the International House of Pancakes with a single restaurant in 1958, has died. He was 76.

Lapin died of cancer last Wednesday at USC/Norris Cancer Centre in Los Angeles, his son Randy said.
Lapin ran a series of coffee carts in Los Angeles when he took notice of fast-food chains such as McDonald's flourishing in Southern California and decided to open his own restaurant.

Convinced he could market pancakes and waffles to the masses, he and his younger brother, Jerry, started the original IHOP in Los Angeles' Toluca Lake section with $25,000 (U.S.).

The restaurant stood out for its chalet theme, boysenberry flavoured syrups, blue roof and unusual pancake dishes such as Tahitian Orange Pineapple.

According to his son, Lapin said his own favourite pancakes were ``the ones that sell."

As president and chairman, Lapin expanded the chain in the 1960s through franchising and eventually built up a conglomerate, International Industries Inc., that included Orange Julius and other food chains. In 1970, his holdings were valued at $40 million.

By 1973, however, a combination of tightening credit, over-expansion and recession had crippled the company, leading Lapin to sell his stake for just $50,000.

He later bought a breakfast restaurant in Santa Monica and a franchiser of printing centres. "I am just not the kind of guy who could lie on the beach forever," he told Forbes magazine in 1982.

Lapin also tried a pizza and video delivery business and a production company that featured videos of rock stars teaching children to play instruments, but those plans never met with the same success as IHOP.

In 1989, he declared bankruptcy.

From the Star’s Wire Services


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