IHOP National Pancake Day: How to get free pancakes and change the world

IHOP celebrates its 10th annual National Pancake Day on March 3. In exchange for the free pancakes, IHOP is encouraging donations to local charities – an effort that has raised a combined $16 million over the past decade. 

Dave McDermand/The Bryan-College Station Eagle/AP/File
Alaster "Gator" Thompson takes advantage of IHOP's National Pancake Day in 2010.

One of the only things better than pancakes is free pancakes. And one of the only things better than free pancakes are free pancakes that promote positive change.

On Tuesday, Mar. 3, IHOP celebrates their tenth annual National Pancake Day. From 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. customers are welcome to one free short stack of Buttermilk pancakes. In exchange, IHOP employees will encourage recipients to donate $5 to their local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital or another designated local charity. Those who do will receive a $5 coupon for their next IHOP visit, according to Consumerist.

Can pancakes really change the world?

Since the celebration began in 2006, IHOP has raised nearly $16 million to support charitable organizations—mainly Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, which funds critical treatments and healthcare services, pediatric medical equipment, and charitable care. With this year marking a “Decade of Giving,” their goal is to raise $3.5 million.

"Little did we dream, ten years ago, that thanks to the generosity of our guests, we would be able to raise $16 million, one short stack at a time, and make a substantial difference in the lives of the children in our local communities," Julia Stewart, interim president of International House of Pancakes, told USA Today.

In case charity is not enough to take advantage of free pancakes, research has shown that partaking in such activities may actually make you happier.

Nataly Kogan, co-founder and CEO of Boston-based Happier, discusses the things in life that make us happier. In a Ted Talk titled “How Pancakes Can Make You Happier And Change The World,” she encourages people to focus on small positive moments that are part of our every day.

“Focusing on small positive moments that are part of our everyday has been scientifically proven to fundamentally change how positive we feel. Research has shown that this makes people less stressed, more productive, less anxious, less depressed . . . The key is that you do capture these moments somehow.”

Ms. Kogan goes on to say that happiness is contagious; simply by sharing happy moments together—whether it is a good laugh or free pancakes—people can boost their happiness and the happiness of others.

“Happiness is contagious in the best possible way,” Kogan said during her talk. “Life is made of moments, choose to create and collect the happy ones.”

This National Pancake Day, happy Twitter users are enjoying free pancakes while paying it forward.

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