Is IHOP an Evil Empire?

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IHOP, you got served!
No, we're not talking about those Rubbermaid-quality breakfast steaks, limp strands of bacon, or pale, runny fried eggs. After all, the California-based IHOP restaurant chain -- once known as the International House of Pancakes, IHOP is officially a freestanding acronym after its acquisition by parent company DineEquity, Inc. -- has been serving the same chow for a while. But a lawsuit filed in Sacramento County Superior Court alleges that IHOP is engaged in much more nefarious activities than dishing out sub-par comfort food to hungover Marina hoochies.

Sultan Hameed, who runs a Sacramento IHOP franchise, asserts in the suit that the company has unfairly squeezed him financially.

Hameed says he still has to pay $740 per week to IHOP for rent on restaurant equipment, despite the fact that he now owns most of his equipment himself or leases it from a third party. "This continuing obligation under these circumstances is illusory, is not supported by consideration, is unfair, illegal, deceptive and in violation of public policy," the lawsuit states.

Additionally, the suit cites an increase in property taxes that was "passed through" to Hameed in violation of his lease agreement. And Hameed's suit asserts that the opening of a new IHOP at IKEA Court in Sacramento was not properly reviewed to gauge its impact on his business.

If reading this made you hungry, by the by, you can get an IHOP fix at one of San Francisco's two empire outposts, in the Marina and Fisherman's Wharf.

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