The Waffle House Index: From serving waffles to managing disasters

September 03, 2019
There's this saying that not all heroes wear capes. Let me rephrase that- Not all heroes wear capes, but some sell waffles, and help people during disasters. Well, Waffle House Inc. and disaster management sounds a bit strange, because it is an American restaurant chain. So, what is the missing link between the two? Turns out,  any Waffle House remains open throughout the year. And no, that was only good news. The best part is that, they remain open for 24 hours a day! Apart from this, they have their own disaster management strategy; well thought out, and meticulous.
The Waffle House Index was something informal which Craig Fugate, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) administrator came up with in May, 2011, after the Joplin Tornado. Even while this tornado was causing havoc in Joplin, two Waffle House restaurants stood their own ground, and remained open. But, remaining open does not constitute their whole disaster management plan, as they are also known to ne ready with portable generators, food, ice etc. prior to any natural disaster. They also have their "jump teams" comprising staff and supplies, which are brought in from outside to assist, because the local stuff would then find time to lead their family members to safety. Coming back to the Waffle House Index, it is divided into three levels. The worst level is Red, the third level, which indicates severe damage, which would require the Waffle House to close down. However, in case of the first level, which is Green, the restaurant(s) would continue to serve full-menu, as only minor or no damage is indicated by the same. The second level, Yellow, would mean a limited menu, and power supply problems. While Red is rare, the Waffle House had to be closed on two occasions: during Hurricane Matthew, and Hurricane Michael.

You can find Waffle House scattered across 25 states of America, in 2,100 locations. They are not just a restaurant chain there, but an extension of their culture itself. When Joe Rogers Sr. and Tom Forkner founded the Waffle House, which, by the way, was named after their most profitable item (yes, waffles!), little did they imagine the role the role it was going to play. There's one more saying you should know, a very popular saying out there under the American sky: Waffle house doors have no locks. So, chances are that if you find a closed Waffle House, you are going to have more than a bad day.

Post Written by - Lopamudra

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