Newly Crowned Miss America to Trade Her Crown for a Spatula: Laura Kaeppeler to Serve as Spokesperson for IHOP's National Pancake Day Celebration

Miss America 2012 to Help Raise Millions for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Encouraging Everyone to Enjoy Free Pancakes Nationwide February 28.

GLENDALE, CA, Jan 17, 2012 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) --Less than 72 hours after being crowned Miss America 2012, Laura Kaeppeler has flipped for kids and announced that she plans to exchange her crown for a chef's hat, her gown for an apron and her sash for a spatula to serve as spokesperson for IHOP's seventh annual National Pancake Day celebration benefitting Children's Miracle Network Hospitals. In one of her first endeavors as Miss America, Kaeppeler hopes to help raise more than $2.7 million for children's hospital programs nationwide on Tuesday, February 28 when IHOP restaurants nationwide give away millions of buttermilk pancakes from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. In return for the free fluffy treat, guests will be asked to make a voluntary donation to Children's Miracle Network Hospitals or other local charities.

"Helping children in need is a great way to start my year of service as Miss America 2012 and I am honored to serve as a national Goodwill Ambassador for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals," said Kaeppeler. "I'll be out there, and I hope that everyone gets out to their local IHOP on February 28 for free pancakes and to contribute to improving and saving children's lives in their community."

IHOP launched its National Pancake Day celebration in 2006 to benefit the communities in which it operates. Last year's fundraiser was the largest one-day event in IHOP's 53-year history with more than four million pancakes given away and over $2.5 million raised for local children's hospitals and other worthy causes. To date, IHOP and its guests have raised nearly $8 million dollars in support of local charities.

"Each year we look forward to National Pancake Day and to welcoming our incredibly generous guests at our more than 1500 IHOP restaurants nationwide," said Jean Birch, IHOP president. "We are excited about the continued support of the Miss America Organization and welcome Laura to the National Pancake Day family as we continue to make a difference in the lives of children across the country."

For more information about National Pancake Day, to find a local IHOP, or to donate to Children's Miracle Network Hospitals, please visit www.IHOPpancakeday.com.

About IHOP

For 53 years, the IHOP family restaurant chain has served its world famous pancakes and a wide variety of breakfast, lunch and dinner items that are loved by people of all ages. IHOP offers its guests an affordable, everyday dining experience with warm and friendly service. As of September 30, 2011, there were 1,532 IHOPs in 50 states and the District of Columbia, as well as in Canada, Guatemala, Mexico, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Under the licensed name IHOP at HOME(TM) consumers can also enjoy a line of premium breakfast products available at leading retailers. IHOP restaurants are franchised and operated by Glendale, Calif.-based International House of Pancakes, LLC and its affiliates. International House of Pancakes, LLC is a wholly-owned subsidiary of DineEquity, Inc. (NYSE: DIN).

About The Miss America Organization

The Miss America Organization is one of the nation's leading achievement programs and the world's largest provider of scholarship assistance for young women. Last year, the Miss America Organization and its state and local organizations made available more than $45 million in cash and scholarship assistance. For more information, go to www.missamerica.org.

About Children's Miracle Network Hospitals

Children's Miracle Network Hospitals raises funds for more than 170 children's hospitals across the United States and Canada, which, in turn, use the money where it's needed the most. When a donation is given it stays in the community, helping local kids. Since 1983, Children's Miracle Network Hospitals has raised more than $4 billion, most of it $1 at a time. These donations have gone to support research and training, purchase equipment, and pay for uncompensated care, all in support of the mission to save and improve the lives of as many children as possible. Learn more at CMNHospitals.org.

Note to Editors:

Pancake Day is a tradition that dates back several centuries to when the English prepped for fasting during Lent. Strict rules prohibited the eating of all dairy products during Lent, so pancakes were made to use up the supply of eggs, milk, butter and other dairy products... hence the name Pancake Tuesday, or Shrove Tuesday. To allow for a full month of fundraising for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals, IHOP's National Pancake Day will take place a week after Shrove Tuesday, on Tuesday, February 28.

Image Available: http://www2.marketwire.com/mw/frame_mw?attachid=1856783

SOURCE: IHOP

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