In an interesting attempt to broaden his customer base, Clifford Gennarelli, owner of the IHOP on Broad Street, is advertising the family restaurant as a spot for funeral receptions, with packages starting at $7 per person.
A story on NJ.com, details how the purveyor of pancakes, traditionally known for its heaping portions of comfort food ranging from enormous four-egg omelets to strawberry French toast stuffed with cheesecake , recently got into the funeral repast business.
While many other IHOPs have party rooms, the Bloomfield restaurant will be the first in the state to cater to funerals. According to the article, Gennarelli got the idea recently after a local church held a funeral repast there. He sent out a flier to Essex country undertakers advertising the new packages.
Gennarelli suggests that the “sanctuary of syrup” can be modified to meet the needs of mourners with a party space that seats 60 and a big screen TV that can play a video or memorial about the person who died. There is also a special menu available that offers entrees like penne alla vodka.
Some people, including State Sen. Richard Codey, who is also a licensed funeral director, find the macabre marketing move amusing but in poor taste:
According to Codey, it would be unethical for an undertaker to accept the IHOP offer as stated on the flier. In his mind, making a deal to collect a cut of a restaurant’s profits is beneath the dignity of funeral directors.
“No funeral director that I know would engage in that practice, and my family has been in the business for a hundred years,” says Codey.
Gennarelli insists that the restaurant doesn’t “make any money on these parties” and the marketing campaign is just a way to bring in new customers and give them some variety.
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