Flipping pancakes can be good for your financial health.

IHOP (NYSE:IHP) posted generally bland quarterly results but spiced things up by raising its full-year forecast. Earnings came in flat -- flat as a pancake, one could say -- at the same $0.62 per-share mark that it earned a year earlier. The top line fell by 3.5%, but that was the result of a sharp decrease in financing revenue. In terms of the IHOP chain itself, it's coasting along as it usually does.

The concept notched its 15th consecutive quarter of positive comps, but that streak may be tested. Third-quarter comps clocked in 1.3% higher, but the average check per guest dipped for the period. That's a testament to IHOP's ability to increase traffic into its syrupy sweet booths, but it will create problems if that stabilizes and patrons continue to spend less than they used to at the eatery.

Another reason to worry is that more companies are digging deeper into the morning menu that has been IHOP's bread and butter over the years. Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) is testing out breakfast sandwiches, and Wendy's (NYSE:WEN) will be joining its fast-food peers with a breakfast menu in a few months. Even if one argues that IHOP's truer rivals are in the form of other bargain-priced breakfast specialists in casual dining like Denny's (NASDAQ:DENN), Bob Evans (NASDAQ:BOBE), or Original House of Pancakes, there's just no way to sugarcoat the emergence of competitive threats with open drive-thru windows (even if you're sprinkling enough powdered sugar on strawberry-topped pancakes to sugarcoat en masse).

IHOP did raise its guidance for the year -- up to a range of $2.35 to $2.40 a share -- and that includes stock-based compensation charges. It assures IHOP of another year of bottom-line growth, and it's a comforting sight for Wall Street that had its analysts betting on profits per share coming in at $2.37 this year.

That's fine, but I'm still a bit uncomfortable with paying more than 20 times earnings for a mature eatery concept like IHOP, especially with the battle over breakfast that I see looming and the perpetual challenge for the concept to grow its lunch and dinner business. Sorry, IHOP. "Come hungry, leave happy," may be the company's latest slogan, but I don't know if new investors will feel the same way.

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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz enjoyed the stuffed French Toast he had at IHOP earlier this month, but he would much rather make the longer drive to Original House of Pancakes when he has a craving for pancakes. He does not own any of the stocks mentioned in this story. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.