Meanwhile at Waffle House: Keeping the lights on, even in disaster

Illustration by Ryan Snook
Illustration by Ryan Snook

You might recall that last January, Atlanta was paralyzed by two inches of snow and resulting gridlock, with one notable exception: Waffle House. No local store closed during Snowpocalypse 2014. “We are a 24-hour restaurant, so we joke that we don’t know how to close,” says Pat Warner, spokesperson for the Norcross-based chain. To prep for wintry weather, the company holds seminars, outfits every store—and every employee—with an ice storm kit, and reserves hotel rooms to put up stranded workers. Indeed, Waffle House so famously withstands severe weather that the Federal Emergency Management Agency created an informal “Waffle House Index.” Only the direst scenario—a closed WaHo—merits FEMA’s “red” label.

This article originally appeared in our January 2015 issue.