Waffle House, one of Georgia's most iconic restaurants, is temporarily shuttering more than 300 locations in multiple states. It's a sign of how bad the coronavirus pandemic is.
While many restaurants recently closed or halted dining room service to slow the spread of coronavirus, Waffle House closures signal desperate times. That's because of something known as the "Waffle House Index."
Federal Emergency Management Agency Director W. Craig Fugate based the index on the extent of operations and service at the restaurant following a storm and indicates how prepared a business is in case of a natural disaster, according to FEMA.
— Waffle House (@WaffleHouse) March 24, 2020
If a Waffle House store is open and offering a full menu, the index is green. If it is open but serving from a limited menu, it’s yellow. When the location has been forced to close, the index is red. Because Waffle House is well-prepared for disasters… it’s rare for the index to hit red.
RELATED: What Is The Waffle House Index?
The Waffle House test doesn’t just tell us how quickly a business might rebound — it also tells us how the larger community is faring. The sooner restaurants, grocery and corner stores, or banks can re-open, the sooner local economies will start generating revenue again — signaling a stronger recovery for that community. The success of the private sector in preparing for and weathering disasters is essential to a community’s ability to recover in the long run.
The company, which is headquartered in Norcross, said it will continue to operate more than 1,600 restaurants.
BITTER SOUTHERNER PODCAST: How could a 2,000-store restaurant chain become, to Southerners, something more than just another place to eat? Listen to The Ways of Waffle House here.