The Waffle House Index: Determining Storm Severity

Posted on August 30th, by Foodio54 in General. No Comments

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (F.E.M.A.) will be using a strange system to determine how severe a weather system is.  The Waffle House, which is known for serving up it’s namesake at over 1,500 restaurants across the country, as it turns out is a great gauge for how severe a storm was by measuring it’s aftermath.

greenlightGreen Light: “If the Waffle House was open and had a full menu, it was green because that meant they hadn’t lost power.”


yellow lightYellow Light:  “If [it] was open but had a limited menu, it meant that there were more problems, so they were yellow. ”


redlightRed Light: “And if the store was closed, it was red.”



This index has already been used once this year at a storm in Moore, OK – after a deadly tornado had stuck.  This year is expected to be a pretty intense hurricane season.

The reason that this index is so effective is that the Waffle House does the majority of it’s business in the southern portion of the United States.  Because of this the Waffle House actually has a risk management solution in place for disasters such as cutting down their menu, which is what they do with limited power.  Waffle House has also built it’s name as being a restaurant that will do whatever it takes to either remain open or to reopen when customers need them.

After hurricane Irene the Waffle House had lost power to 22 of it’s restaurants in North Carolina, Virginia, Delaware and Maryland.  In less than 3 days all but one of those locations were fully operational.

That level of dedication and disaster preparedness – makes the Waffle House a great gauge on how bad a storm actually was.

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