In honor of National Pancake Day on Tuesday, IHOP in Harker Heights, Killeen and other locations across Central Texas will offer guests a free short stack of buttermilk pancakes from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

In exchange for the free pancakes, diners are invited to make a donation to Shriners Hospitals.

This is the eighth year IHOP has hosted the free pancake promotion. Last year, the Harker Heights location served pancakes to about 6,000-7,000 people, said Lesley Myles, restaurant manager.

That’s quadruple the number of customers the restaurant usually sees on a Tuesday.

“We’re very busy, a lot of people take advantage of it,” Myles said.

People start lining up early and the lines end up snaking around the building, she said. The busiest times are in the morning, in the afternoon after school lets out and after 5 p.m. when people get off work.

But regardless of the lines, Myles said the wait is usually pretty short — only about five minutes. “We have a really quick turnover.”

To prepare for the crowds, Myles has her prep cook arrive at 4 a.m. and one side of the kitchen is set aside exclusively for pancake making.

“She’ll be making pancake batter all day,” Myles said.

IHOP hopes to raise $3 million this year, with a goal to bring the total amount of funds raised to more than $13 million, a news release stated.

National Pancake Day 2012 was IHOP’s largest one-day event in the company’s 54-year history. All of the free pancakes served that day would create a stack nearly 16 miles high.

Contact Kristi Johnson at kristij@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7548

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