|Joe Rogers, Sr. and Tom Forkner, founders of Waffle House and WWII veterans, in 1980|
Operating out of mostly Southern states (although I love to go there up here in Ohio) the chain found itself dealing with a good possibility of severe weather in the form of hurricanes, floods and tornadoes. When expanding into Northern states the chain was faced with snow and ice as challenges. Waffle House realized a need to prepare and did just that. A predetermined "short" menu, on site generators at each location, pre-positioned stockpiles of basic ingredients in centrally located warehouses as well as ice a reliable logistics chain allows most Waffle Houses to remain open after disasters when many other restaurants close. It makes good business sense to do so as many relief worked coming into an affected area not only have somewhere to eat (and spend their money) but also use as a temporary "nerve center" of sorts if need be. Local populaces can also find a hot meal there and also have a rallying point if needed.
They operate on a colored index scale based upon their ability to staff and supply their stores.
Generally speaking, if you can't find a Waffle House open, its time to get out of Dodge... I am assuming that they have pretty dedicated folks who work there that would come to work after a local disaster, but then again maybe part of their planning is to send in employees from other locations to work at affected stores so the local employees can take care of their families....at least that's how I would do it.
Here is a short, but good, video of how Waffle House does it...
So, a short recap of the Waffle House Index...