Today is the best excuse you’ll get to eat pancakes for the entire next year. It’s National Pancake Day, and IHOP is serving up free short stacks of buttermilk goodness all day long. People love free stuff, but what’s in it for IHOP?
For the past eight years, IHOP has participated in National Pancake Day, serving up freebies to customers with a singular goal in mind: raising money for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and other local charities. The pancakes are free, but guests are asked if they’d like to donate to the cause—and 100 percent of all proceeds go directly to the charities.
Over the past eight years, IHOP has brought in over $10 million in donations. In 2012 IHOP served about 4 million pancakes and raised around $3 million; the California-based restaurant chain hopes to do the same this year. They will be serving the free pancakes from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m. today.
Though National Pancake Day is normally celebrated on “Fat Tuesday,” the last Tuesday before Lent, this year it’s a week early. Mardi Gras won’t be here until next Tuesday, February 12th.
Historically, Pancake Day was known as “Shrove Tuesday,” which dates all the way back to early Christianity in Europe. Pancakes are full of dairy and eggs, and legend dictates that the day came about because it was an easy way to use them up before the beginning of Lent.
These days, the day is celebrated with pancake races across the U.S. and the U.K., and of course with free pancakes. Free food for charity? There’s not much that could sweeten us up quite so much.