IHOP restaurants install fixtures from Cree LED Lighting

Several restaurants have installed six-inch LED downlights, which were judged as superior to CFLs.

Cree has announced that the International House of Pancakes (IHOP) franchise in Northern Virginia, owned and operated by Wilhelm Restaurant Group, Inc., has adopted Cree LED Lighting (formerly LLF Inc) products as the preferred lighting for all existing and future restaurants.

Since testing began in January 2008, more than 100 retrofit LR6 six-inch LED downlights have been installed in two locations.

Six additional locations have retrofit plans in progress, and construction plans for a new IHOP have been modified to specify Cree LR6 LED downlights.

Paul Belle, vice president Wilhelm Restaurant Group, Inc, wanted to move away from conventional, incandescent lighting toward a more sustainable, energy-efficient light. He was considering compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) but changed his mind after seeing Cree's LED products.

"Cree's LED lights were much more impressive than CFLs," said Belle. "LED light is more energy-efficient, generates less heat, has a longer life and it's just a better quality light, in my opinion."

However, no mention was made in the press release of the initial cost or payback period for the LED fixtures.

According to Belle, the IHOP employees prefer the LED lighting as it is very bright, easy on their eyes and enhances the general appearance of the food.

"The light is not offensive like CFLs can be; the LEDs give off a warm, white light," Belle said. "The best way I can describe it is to compare the light to a high-definition television. Everything under the LED lighting appears to have a better clarity, like HDTV versus standard definition."

"I would really like to serve as a leader within the IHOP community by demonstrating success within our restaurants and expand the LED program nationally," Belle said. "It is normal to invest a little more in a new technology, but it's worth it. Somebody has to be first and I'm glad to be on the cutting edge."

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