FEMA Coins "Waffle House Index" | News
Atlanta-According to a new study, two Atlanta companies are at their best when mother nature is at her worst.
Home Depot and Waffle House are cited for rolling through community disasters with flair.
The FEMA administrator has coined the Waffle House Index as a way to deal with adversity.
The familiar restaurants have become a modern day "canary in the coal mine."
Walt Ehmer is the President of Waffle House he told Jeff Hullinger, "It's pretty flattering to know that FEMA thinks enough of us to mention us with those other companies."
Ehmer is busy right now mobilizing his 30,000 plus workforce toward hurricane readiness.
Nothing scattered about their planning, it's all smothered with detail.
Keep those restaurants open just as always
" I remember early in my career snowstorms and ice storms around Atlanta--the AJC ran an ad thanking Kroger, Ga. Power and Waffle House for being there in the 92 snow storm," said Ehmer.
So let's move on 19 years, our 2011 snow and ice storm. Waffle House asked corporate employees with four-wheel drive vehicles to grab food from a warehouse in Norcross to supply local restaurants. 39-Dekalb Police officers were not as resourceful getting to work
And when Sheriff Thomas Brown hands down suspensions for no show in February, he referenced a well know local fact
" The Waffle House waitresses where I ate Monday and Tuesday came to work. I'm having a difficult time understanding why you couldn't come to work," said Sheriff Brown
As for Waffle House, Ehmer made this point, " In the storm this past winter we didn't have a single one of our restaurants closed."
The company tries to flood the disaster area with manpower after a storm to give its local employees a rest.
After the Alabama tornadoes, people from metro Atlanta, Mississippi and Tennessee went to Tuscaloosa.
" The challenge for us is power typically sometimes water but we'll operate the restaurant without power and water until we can get a generator, water and ice trucked in," said Ehmer
Now remember this- -here is the FEMA code from the US government, green if the entire menu is served, yellow if partial menu, and red is Waffle house is closed.
All this really started for Waffle House in 1989 when Hurricane Hugo blew through Charleston.
The restaurants served a great communal purpose and the momentum has continued decades later says their company president.