Wednesday, April 1, 2020

[ALERT] Support Your Local Waffle House or Start Imagining A World Without It

The recent COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll not only on human life (4,000 deaths and counting in the U.S.) but also on industries, perhaps most of all, hospitality.  Hotels are running at nearly 100% vacancy and furloughing thousands of employees.  Restaurants are doing whatever they can to remain in business.  Restaurants you would have never thought would be offering takeout (Aria & Umi) are doing so, while others (Arnette's Chop Shop and Bell Street Burritos) have morphed into markets selling grocery and protein items they might have previously offered on their menu.

There are few restaurants more Atlanta than Waffle House and Chick-fil-A.  Both chains started in Atlanta - Chick-fil-A in 1967 [first in 1946 as the Dwarf Grill] and Waffle House in 1955 - but while Chick-fil-A is weathering the storm through robust ordering options, Waffle House finds itself in uncharted territory.

A recent Forbes article Crippled By Coronavirus, Waffle House Faces A Harsh Reality: ‘We’ve Never Seen Anything Like This’ details the difficult road ahead for the beloved chain.  Yes, they are a chain, and yes, plenty of small mom and pop restaurants need our help too, but man, can you imagine an Atlanta... an America... without Waffle House?!

Most of Chick-fil-A's more than 2,400 locations are open, and while the chain has still not added Sunday service, the chain is still operating.  That said, Chick-fil-A operators are undoubtedly feeling the pain of the growing COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting decrease in sales, most notably zero on premise dining, but they can perhaps take solace in the fact that their operation is one of the best prepared to serve its customers in other ways.  Chick-fil-A is already known for incredibly efficient drive-thrus, but now their robust suite of other purchasing options including mobile ordering via the Chick-fil-A One app and delivery via  DoorDash, Grubhub and Uber Eats are further helping them to extend their reach and generate sales.

Waffle House finds themselves in a completely different situation.  Only one of the chain's more than 2,000 locations features a drive-thru (it's in Stone Mountain) and the chain relies heavily on on-premise dining at its restaurants.  Waffle House and its 24 hour/365 service are popular post ballgame/concert/bar crawl/event etc. destinations and the limitations on large gatherings and postponement of basically every major sporting event have put a serious dent in their business.  Typically, Waffle House generates about $1.3 billion in annual revenue but today, sales across the company are down an average of 70 percent.

Unlike so many of its casual and fast food rivals, Waffle House does not have relationships with any delivery companies and is selling its food exclusively to go and carryout.  The chain has already shuttered some 420 locations, it hopes temporarily, and cut hours at some of the restaurants kept open.

In North Buckhead, for instance, the Waffle House at 3735 Roswell Road is for the time being open only from 7AM until 3PM, seven days a week.  Other nearby locations like those on Pharr Road at Piedmont Road and Sidney Marcus Boulevard at Piedmont Road are, for now, still open 24/7.

The Waffle House Museum during last year's Waffle Day celebration 

To remind would-be diners that they are still open and still serving, many Waffle House restaurants have makeshift signs in the windows announcing they're open, their phone number and their hours. Historically, Waffle House has consistently been one of the few businesses to remain open and or the soonest to reopen in the aftermath of a natural disaster.  Waffle House and their ability to remain in or restart operations is often seen as a barometer of business by Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) after disasters.  The chain has weathered tornadoes, hurricanes, and countless other storms and setbacks, but COVID-19 is different.  As company Chairman Joe Rogers, Jr. says in his interview with Forbes:

Any disaster, momentarily, cripples some pieces of the business and we rush in to rescue it.  But we have the rest of the system healthy to go do that. There is no healthy portion of this system today. We are burning cash every week.”

Rogers, son of Waffle House co-founder Joe Rogers Sr.,  has been running the now 65 year-old chain since 1973 and has "never seen anything like this," he told Forbes.  For his part, Rogers and other family members have vowed not to take a salary until the crisis is over, but that alone will not save the business.  The company has furloughed thousands of hourly employees and while Rogers says he won't be paying them if their restaurants are closed, the company has used its cash reserves to pay furloughed corporate employees.

When you think about it, Waffle House is so much a part of the Zeitgeist of Atlanta that's it's hard to imagine a world without it, but with social distancing extended nationally until April 30, that is exactly what we may have to do.  

A raving Waffle House fan shows off his Waffle House-ified Mustang 

Yesterday was a nationally advertised and heavily promoted The Great American Takeout (#TheGreatAmericanTakeout), which encouraged diners around the country to order food from their favorite restaurant for delivery or takeout. 

Today, we are calling for today and Wednesdays going forward to be #WaffleWednesday and are encouraging those that are financially able, to order food from their local Waffle House to help them weather this catastrophic storm.  

51 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think WH should just close all their restaurants until this is over. They're a diner type restaurant, it's only normal that they did *not* take any special preparations for a global pandemic.

It's hard to tell to what extent the current measures are helping beyond the basic handwashing and distancing that was already in place. IMO, the incremental benefits of crushing the economy for the forseeable future is just not worth it.

Cody Cargle said...

Wow honestly I hope Waffle House will come back stronger than ever, love there food, but hate the prices now compared to how they used to be, and sometimes the customer service is hit or miss at any of them now! 😞

Unknown said...

I have ate at waffle house a few times. I have never seen one that didn't have nasty looking and acting employees, except in Charleston sc.its the exception. Most of them are nasty

Unknown said...

Im a proud employee since 2003. Im a waitress, a stockholder and have waffle house blue cross blue shield for myself and my child. This is frightening without a job or income, but I haven't given up hope yet. Screw you haters if you're waitress was rude to your drunk ass just put yourself in her shoes for one minute- cuz if you tried to walk a mile in em you'd complain about sore feet

Unknown said...

I tried to call in a order today but noo answered the phone.

Anonymous said...

The first businesses that need to reopen, perhaps in May, when the pandemic cases and deaths start to die down, are the restaurants. Perhaps they will be allowed some dine in service but to keep social distancing procedures in place. The longer this goes on, the tougher it gets for all restaurants. It's not helping that we have clueless red state governors like Kemp taking their cues from the moron in the White House

Unknown said...

Waffle house is a great place to eat and I can't imagine not having it around. Everyone who can please support your area waffle house by ordering take out as much as possible. Times are changing enough and we all need the nostalgia of waffle house to remain in our lives.

Ham said...

I remember when WH employees were kind of like a distant relative. Maybe just a little rude, called you honey and did an overall good job. Last time I went the employees got in an argument which turned physical when one of their Mothers showed up. I can not express how simultaneously hilarious and scary this was.

Gigi said...

You tell them girl!$

Bobbi said...

Waffle house on Malabar in Palm Bay is one of my favorite places to eat at.the serves are always cleaning and always so kind. Would highly recommend going there.

Unknown said...

I think they should hire doordash grub hub postmates ect to up their sales they are allowing this issue to take over and there are ways around it I was told today theydidnt want to spend money on the pads that go with some delivery companies. I was always told you have to spend money in order to make money

Unknown said...

I think Waffle House should get doordash GrubHub Postmates or any other delivery service working with them they don't seem to want to spend their money on the extra things that it takes to get delivery service and that's sad because they can triple quadruple their money just by having delivery

Unknown said...

I agree

Anonymous said...

Sir, apparently you have never been to Waffle House in Pigeon Forge Tennessee. We take much pride in the cleanliness of our store. When you are getting your butt kicked its kinda hard to keep it spotless but we try. First of all customers could help by NOT sitting down at a table that we have not had time to clean up. Give Waffle House another try maybe when they are not slammed and you will have a good experience. After all all our food is cooked fresh anyway you want it.

Unknown said...

Waffle House will be fine. Their leadership team is top notch. Waffle House is doing what they can to limit debt in this situation. They let hourly folks, managers, corporate people, and non-essential people have an opportunity to file for unemployment. This ensures those folks have something rather than barely anything at all. Walt Ehmer (CEO) and Chairman Joe Rogers Jr. will continue to close units and keep the ones open that make sense. In this instance, the government always overreaches and created a cure worse than the symptoms. Certain areas should be on lock down.....not the entire US. Very sad what this has done not only for Waffle House Inc. but for all types of businesses. Let's hope and pray for a speedy recovery and please visit a local restaurant. As far as you all worrying about Waffle House, they'll reopen when all this is over and will take care of their associates and their customers. It's what they do!

Unknown said...

I am a waitress and cook at waffle house been there since i was 16 and left a while but been back for 4 years im from north carolina hope we open back up soon. I sure do miss my custom and my coworkers. Wellbe back ooen soon god will get us all throw this hard time. We have to keep our faith

Unknown said...

SEEMS JUST ABOUT ALL WAFFLE HOUSES HAVE NASTY EMPLOYEES I OVER LOOK THEM AND DO ENJOY GOING DAILY SINCE RETIRING IN 2005 SPEND 2 HOURS A DAY AND THEY TREAT ME EXCELLENT YES I SEE SHIT AND ALOT OF TIME I STEP IN PAY CUSTOMERS TICKETS ASK THEM TO PLEASE COME BACK WE ALL FUMBLE BUT DON’T GIVE UP ON THOSE FOLKS THAT NEED HELP GIVE THEM STRENGTH TO BE BETTER I STRIVE TO HELP THEM ALL BE BETTER BUT DO COME AND EAT IT BE EXCELLENT FOOD

Anonymous said...

Im just trying to imagine Georgia without a WH..a thought that I hope never come true.The only complaint I have for WH is how the restaurant wont be paying non corporate employees. If it werent for the little guy WH would not have been as prosperous and as many people are beginning to realize,they are the people they should be paying homage to.

Im an occasional patron of WH but I till enjoyed the food at the place. While I wouldn't want for them to totally open their doors to the public,maybe they should do just takeout,call in immediate pick up orders and/ or wait for your order in your car until you can get it as some have already suggested on here.

Far as my customer service at WH,I guess I lucked up because my wait was pleasant and if it reopens again,Ill bw back.

Deserea said...

As a very proud Manager at Waffle House #2317, I can tell you that we are taking EVERY precaution. My staff bleaches and sanitizes EVERY SURFACE (door handles, chairs, registers, time clock, stainless steel surfaces) once every hour. EVERY HOUR. And this is verified... by me.... via cctv..... daily. Because I don't want this virus. I don't want my husband or my 5 beautiful daughters to catch this virus. I don't want my customers to catch this virus. And because it's the RIGHT thing to do! These precautions are mandated by Joe Rogers jr across ALL waffle house. SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL WAFFLE HOUSE!!!!

Unknown said...

I Have Found a Cure for the Coronavirus!!
The Coronavirus is ALL in the mind. The Coronavirus is ONLY a stronger strain of the flu, nothing more, nothing less. Let's just FORGET about the Coronavirus, and Open everything back up, and get back to where we were before this hype started.

Unknown said...

I am also proud unit manager in Colorado springs and I can tell u we take the very same precautions so once again Please SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL WAFFLE HOUSE!!!

Unknown said...

Yes they will and thank u for kind words..20 plus years unit manager hereπŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘

Tubaya said...

@Deserea I totally agree, I too am a proud Waffle House Manager and in Texas we also take sanitizing our Unit hourly VERY SERIOUS. I appreciate that they are trying to keep some units open and people working. I will be glad when this is all over!

Tubaya said...

You can walk in and order also pick up inside. We have someone monitoring our phones constantly because right now that's where 50% of sales are coming from.

Unknown said...

Wagfle house in franklin indiana is the cleanest waffle house in the united states.

Unknown said...

I have been a waffle house server for years. I love my customers, i love my co-workers, and i love the waffle house. My location is currently closed and im stressed, and going crazy im sure like every1 else who isnt working right now.i couldn't imagine my life without the waffle house. I can't wait for this all to be over so i can return back to my job and back to normal life. God Bless every1 even the waffle house haters

Unknown said...

Excuse me not one of the employees I have worked with in the 17different waffle houses are nasty ibet you couldn't do their job and we are all human your mean and mean people suck. H Z very a great day and we will see you next time.

Jvic2287 said...

I work at store 1168 on Haywood Road in Greenville South Carolina some of our stores have closed all together summer first shift only our story show 24 hours a day we clean our store constantly inside and out as much as possible and I have been an employee at Waffle House for 5 years now and I just think that it is ridiculous that they shut an hour restaurants down and giving what further should be paid to us as the workers to corporate who most likely have pension built up right now my hours are so Slack are store is doing good just to stay open even the unemployment office has delays it's ridiculous but as one manager said we are doing everything that we can to keep our stores clean is the Waffle House way

Unknown said...

So they can pay the corporate employees but not the hourly associates on the from lines right. Not to mention that all grill operators pay has been lowered by 1$ & hours aren't there.10 to 20 hours a week to put your family in dangers isn't worth it. I feel disrespected by all this. No benefits or charity from WH in these times. Need I say more

Unknown said...

So they can pay the corporate employees but not the hourly associates on the from lines right. Not to mention that all grill operators pay has been lowered by 1$ & hours aren't there.10 to 20 hours a week to put your family in dangers isn't worth it. I feel disrespected by all this. No benefits or charity from WH in these times. Need I say more

Anonymous said...

WH in Ellijay, GA is one of the best! I have eaten there and I have worked there. The people are all wonderful and of course with a house full of women, things do get a bit catty, but all in all, every waitress there genuinely cares, whole heartedly about their customers. Their is an alliance between each and everyone of them that would rival a government! I pray the WH in Ellijay, GA comes back ten fold as everyone of those people need their jobs. Ellijay is a small mountain town with limited opportunities. So here's to you all, Jeremy, Kristin, kayla, Katie, Leigh, and the rest of the gang!

Anonymous said...

Hi

Anonymous said...

I work at waffle house and the workers are a bunch of miserable b!tches who make me sick and hate my job #2357

Anonymous said...

Waffle House doesn't give a damn about their employees!! It's all about money, money and more money! They have managers & district managers acting like straight thugs and bullying their employees. We constantly get threatened.. everybody has to sign a last chance warning for something but the managers and higher up all get paid a decent living wage while the rest of us live in poverty & barely survive. The managers are given the green light to treat us like crap. If you God Forbid anger any of them they retaliate by cutting your hours. And corporate could careless as long as the money keeps flowing in!! I work in waffle house in South East Louisiana and it's a damn joke!!

Gina said...

I am a server at #1049 dayton ohio. I work with the best crew there is. We may be closed for now but we will come back stronger then ever. We are not just wafflehouse strong we are USASTRONG.

Anonymous said...

First off not all management is like that speak from ur experience not as a whole.I am a manager and I care about my employees more so than my self i have given rides,feed and help them in anyway I can so not all management is that way.

Anonymous said...

To Waffle House employees: Many of us love you and understand how hard you work. The employees are part of the experience of eating at WH. To me, it's kind of like eating at the Varsity. I can't wait until restaurants reopen so I can go back and enjoy the full WH experience!

Anonymous said...

As a assistant manager in Tennessee at waffle house #1654 we are doing everything we can for sanitation and going as far as curb side pick up.
Help keep us going!!

Unknown said...

I am out of work now i was working at the wafflehouse in Raleigh NC we got furlough

Unknown said...

Right on girl you tell them. I had been an employee with Waffle House since January. Unfortunately out doors were closed the 24th of March.

Sondra said...

I am a proud trainer/server at waffle housen unit 1053 fort oglethorpe Ga. I have been working for waffle house for 19 years and I love my job and my fellow employees. I love coming to work on a daily bases and seeing our customers they are not just customers they become your family. Most of are customers we have are regular customers and I am going to tell you if it was not for them my life would be different today. Two years ago I found out I was sick I didnt have the enough money plus on top of that having to take time off was going to.make things worst. Well last make a long story short I had cancer and the doctors said i had to have it removed as some as possible so it want spread. Well my fellow associate had a raffle to help me come up with the money the hospital said inhad to have up front and needles to say the customers and my coworker all help sale ticket to raffle of a tv to help me and there were so many people who helped and there were so many people who just donated money to help me i got the help I need and while inwas not working I about got my light turned off and I was running out of food because I was not working well the man who won the tv found out i was struggling and my power was about to be cut off so he took that tv and raffled it again to help me. I am true thank ful for the waffle house I work for and the people they are truely amazing. If it was not for them I couldnt have done it. I love my waffle house and are customers they are great people. They will show you what true southern hospitality truely is. And to all the people who say shut them down well we have families we have kids just like you so why are we different then you because the way I see it. Is that if someone came to your job and said we should shut them down just because they dont like you I mean how fair would that be to you and if it ant fair to you why would it be fair to all of us that work there we are no different then you we have kids, husband,wife's,boyfriends,and girl friends,mother father brother and sisters just like you we also have to help take care of so before you say shut us down we are here just like you trying to take care of our families and love ones just like you. What I see is in the world (clearly my opinion not waffle house or anyone else mine only) is that there is to many people out in the world judging people and treating people like the are not important instead of treating them like they should be with respect. And help one another it would help but anyway. THANK YOU TO ALL THE WONDERFUL EMPLOYEES OF THE WAFFLE HOUSES AND ALL THE LOYAL CUSTOMERS that truely understand and have always been by our side.

Cody Cargle said...

Anonymous on April 2, 2020 at 3:22 Pm Honestly you obviously dislike President Trump, I know Governor Kemp isn’t the best, but what you said right there tells me you want to see everyone die and suffer, we cannot open everything back up, until this shit settles back down, Waffle House will be still here for you, but us humans won’t be if we don’t do the right thing. πŸ˜‘

Anonymous said...

I worked for Waffle House for 14 yrs. It has been a great place to work! It started with my mom working there and then just became a family thing. My husband and son are currently working for them as well! My husband as been with them 13 yrs now. They have ALWAYS been there for us no matter the situation. This is a hard time for all of us and they are doing their best. WAFFLE HOUSE WILL COME BACK STRONGER THAN EVER! Look at everything they have done during national disasters!! Shout out to the jump team! #WAFFLEHOUSESTRONG

RayAtL said...

Waffle House needs to add online ordering to their website. Its past time for that actually.
Why is Waffle House so slow to add minor innovations like that? It took them years to just take credit cards.

RayAtL said...

Waffle House needs to add online ordering to their website. Its past time for that actually.
Why is Waffle House so slow to add minor innovations like that? It took them years to just take credit cards.

Anonymous said...

April 2, 2020 at 3:22 PM

Blame China for exporting their Lung Pao Sicken around the World and note than Dem run cities and states have the worst outbreak of the Wuhan Virus.

Support your favorite locally owned small restaurants because they may not survive. Waffle House will still be around when the government tells the sheep they came come out of hiding.

Anonymous said...

Shoot the messenger - the MEDIA

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/coronavirus-hitting-democrat-communities-more-than-republican-ones-143813828.html

@ Sondra

TLDR

Anonymous said...

I take offense to that im a waffle house employee and im VERY CLEAN so is my store we uphold strict sanitation so unless you have eaten in our store DONT ASSUME THEY ARE ALL THE SAME

Unknown said...

Hello to all of my Waffle House Family and friends out there. We are going to survive this hard time bc that's what Waffle House is known for surviving the worst times unfortunately I have been out of work since March 26 but I'm just praying that we can hurry up and get back to work bc I miss my Waffle House Family and life is so much better when I am able to work as a Salesperson at my lovely Candler Rd Waffle House in Gainesville Ga. We are a slow volume store and we don't have the huge crowd that most have but that just insures that we can get to know our customers better and we can give them more of a family oriented service so they are well taken care of at our awesome store Unit 1178 rocks the best way we know how. I miss my Waffle House please Lord let us open back up ASAP I'm lost without work and life isn't the same without my Waffle House Family! Please dear Lord let us come back to work soon.Im going crazy being at home.

Anonymous said...

Yeah because Waffle House is so expensive.

Cody Cargle said...

Anonymous said on April 28, 2020 at 5:32 Am Okay does it really matter if Waffle House is expensive or not, atleast it tastes better than half the shit that does exist up there? 🀦🏻‍♂️

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