Wednesday, 21 November, 2018

Waffle House Index created to measure storm effects

How Waffle House can be a gauge of hurricane severity Traffic flashes by breakfast diners a a Waffle House near Dawsonville Ga. Thursday
Orlando Vargas | 16 September, 2018, 11:13

The Norcross, Georgia-based chain keeps nearly every one of its 2,100 locations open 24/7, no matter what the weather forecast says.

Waffle House is so crucial when a storm hits because the 24-hour chain often stays open when the weather gets bad.

As Waffle House officials monitor Hurricane Florence from the company's headquarters in Norcross, the Federal Emergency Management Agency is monitoring Waffle House.

With Hurricane Florence barreling towards the east coast, the Waffle House is one of the countless businesses and agencies keeping a pulse on the storm. They also tweeted a cheeky message to the storm itself: "Kiss my grits!"

The company has a fleet of response units, complete with Waffle House-branded trucks and vans, that transport generators, communication technology and other items that can help local stores reboot quickly during most emergency situations.

You may be wondering why in the world is Waffle House in the disaster management business? FEMA has since developed a color-coded system that is dependent on Waffle House's status.

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"The sooner restaurants, grocery and corner stores, or banks can re-open, the sooner local economies will start generating revenue again - signalling a stronger recovery for that community,"FEMA said in a blog post in 2011". Those evacuations apply to Waffle House employees, too.

As of noon Wednesday, Waffle House executives had made the decision to close eight of those restaurants that appear to be in the direct path of the hurricane.

GREEN: full menu - the restaurant has power and damage is limited.

Fugate stepped down in January 2017 and was replaced by Brock Long, but the Waffle House Index remains.

At least one restaurant in Myrtle Beach went dark a few days before the storm, and now has a sign saying it will reopen when Florence passes, WMBF reported.

In order to remain open during risky conditions, Waffle House plans carefully - and in advance - for each storm. We have 250 restaurants, and we are monitoring resources so they can roll in right after the storm. He told National Public Radio in 2016: "They are open most of the time. You haven't found the bad stuff yet", Fugate said on NPR.

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