Waffle House
Overview
Waffle House is a restaurant chain with over 1600 locations found in 25 states in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. Most of the locations are in the Southern United States
Southern United States
The Southern United States—commonly referred to as the American South, Dixie, or simply the South—constitutes a large distinctive area in the southeastern and south-central United States...

, where the chain remains a regional cultural icon. It is headquartered in unincorporated
Unincorporated area
In law, an unincorporated area is a region of land that is not a part of any municipality.To "incorporate" in this context means to form a municipal corporation, a city, town, or village with its own government. An unincorporated community is usually not subject to or taxed by a municipal government...

 Gwinnett County
Gwinnett County, Georgia
, Gwinnett County had a population of 805,321. The racial and ethnic composition of the population was 53.3% white , 23.6% black , 2.7% Korean, 2.6% Asian Indian, 2.0% Vietnamese, 3.3% other Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 8.8% some other race and 3.1% from two or more races...

, Georgia
Georgia (U.S. state)
Georgia is a state located in the southeastern United States. It was established in 1732, the last of the original Thirteen Colonies. The state is named after King George II of Great Britain. Georgia was the fourth state to ratify the United States Constitution, on January 2, 1788...

, near Norcross
Norcross, Georgia
As of 2010 Norcross had a population of 9,116. The racial and ethnic composition of the population was 40.8% white , 19.8% black or African American , 0.7% Native American, 2.1% Asian Indian, 10.7% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 21.5% from some other race and 4.3% reporting two or more races...

.
The first Waffle House opened on Labor Day
Labor Day
Labor Day is a United States federal holiday observed on the first Monday in September that celebrates the economic and social contributions of workers.-History:...

 weekend, 1955 at 2719 East College Avenue in Avondale Estates, Georgia
Avondale Estates, Georgia
Avondale Estates is a city in DeKalb County, Georgia, United States. The population was 2,960 at the 2010 census.Avondale Estates was founded in 1924 by George Francis Willis, who purchased the entire village of Ingleside to create a planned community. The city was named after Stratford-upon-Avon,...

. That restaurant was conceived and founded by Joe Rogers Sr. and Tom Forkner
Tom Forkner
Thomas "Tom" Forkner is an American businessman and lawyer as well as a notable senior golfer. He is the co-founder of restaurant chain Waffle House, which consisted of 1,553 restaurants as of February 5, 2009.-Biography:...

, who both continue to own a majority of the company today.
Encyclopedia
Waffle House is a restaurant chain with over 1600 locations found in 25 states in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. Most of the locations are in the Southern United States
Southern United States
The Southern United States—commonly referred to as the American South, Dixie, or simply the South—constitutes a large distinctive area in the southeastern and south-central United States...

, where the chain remains a regional cultural icon. It is headquartered in unincorporated
Unincorporated area
In law, an unincorporated area is a region of land that is not a part of any municipality.To "incorporate" in this context means to form a municipal corporation, a city, town, or village with its own government. An unincorporated community is usually not subject to or taxed by a municipal government...

 Gwinnett County
Gwinnett County, Georgia
, Gwinnett County had a population of 805,321. The racial and ethnic composition of the population was 53.3% white , 23.6% black , 2.7% Korean, 2.6% Asian Indian, 2.0% Vietnamese, 3.3% other Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 8.8% some other race and 3.1% from two or more races...

, Georgia
Georgia (U.S. state)
Georgia is a state located in the southeastern United States. It was established in 1732, the last of the original Thirteen Colonies. The state is named after King George II of Great Britain. Georgia was the fourth state to ratify the United States Constitution, on January 2, 1788...

, near Norcross
Norcross, Georgia
As of 2010 Norcross had a population of 9,116. The racial and ethnic composition of the population was 40.8% white , 19.8% black or African American , 0.7% Native American, 2.1% Asian Indian, 10.7% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 21.5% from some other race and 4.3% reporting two or more races...

.

History

The first Waffle House opened on Labor Day
Labor Day
Labor Day is a United States federal holiday observed on the first Monday in September that celebrates the economic and social contributions of workers.-History:...

 weekend, 1955 at 2719 East College Avenue in Avondale Estates, Georgia
Avondale Estates, Georgia
Avondale Estates is a city in DeKalb County, Georgia, United States. The population was 2,960 at the 2010 census.Avondale Estates was founded in 1924 by George Francis Willis, who purchased the entire village of Ingleside to create a planned community. The city was named after Stratford-upon-Avon,...

. That restaurant was conceived and founded by Joe Rogers Sr. and Tom Forkner
Tom Forkner
Thomas "Tom" Forkner is an American businessman and lawyer as well as a notable senior golfer. He is the co-founder of restaurant chain Waffle House, which consisted of 1,553 restaurants as of February 5, 2009.-Biography:...

, who both continue to own a majority of the company today. Rogers had started in the restaurant business as a short-order cook in 1947, at the Toddle House
Toddle House
Toddle House was a national restaurant chain in the United States specializing in breakfast and open 24/7. Each outlet was built to the same plan, and contained no tables, but merely a short counter with a row of ten stools. Payment was on the honor system: customers deposited their checks with...

 in New Haven, Connecticut
New Haven, Connecticut
New Haven is the second-largest city in Connecticut and the sixth-largest in New England. According to the 2010 Census, New Haven's population increased by 5.0% between 2000 and 2010, a rate higher than that of the State of Connecticut, and higher than that of the state's five largest cities, and...

. By 1949, he had become a regional manager with the now-defunct Memphis
Memphis, Tennessee
Memphis is a city in the southwestern corner of the U.S. state of Tennessee, and the county seat of Shelby County. The city is located on the 4th Chickasaw Bluff, south of the confluence of the Wolf and Mississippi rivers....

-based Toddle House chain, and was moving to Atlanta
Atlanta, Georgia
Atlanta is the capital and most populous city in the U.S. state of Georgia. According to the 2010 census, Atlanta's population is 420,003. Atlanta is the cultural and economic center of the Atlanta metropolitan area, which is home to 5,268,860 people and is the ninth largest metropolitan area in...

. He met Tom Forkner when buying a house from him in Avondale Estates.

Rogers' concept was to marry the speed of fast food with table service and around the clock availability. He told Forkner "...You build a restaurant and I’ll show you how to run it,”’ recalls Tom Forkner.

Forkner suggested naming it Waffle House, as waffle
Waffle
A waffle is a batter- or dough-based cake cooked in a waffle iron patterned to give a distinctive and characteristic shape. There are many variations based on the type and shape of the iron and the recipe used....

s were the most profitable item on the 16-item menu. The fragile nature of waffles also made the point that it was a dine-in, not a carry-out, restaurant, but it confused patrons as to meal availability other than breakfast.

Rogers continued to work with Toddle House, and to avoid conflict of interest sold his interest to Forkner in 1956. In 1960, when Rogers asked to buy in to Toddle House, and they refused, he moved back to Atlanta and rejoined Waffle House, now a chain of three restaurants, to run restaurant operations. Shortly after Joe returned full time, Tom followed suit and left Ben S. Forkner Realty.

After opening a fourth restaurant in 1960, the company began franchising
Franchising
Franchising is the practice of using another firm's successful business model. The word 'franchise' is of anglo-French derivation - from franc- meaning free, and is used both as a noun and as a verb....

 their restaurants and slowly grew to 27 stores by the late 1960s, before growth accelerated. The company is privately held and doesn’t disclose annual sales figures, but says they serve 2% of the eggs used in the nation's food service industry. The founders limit their involvement in management, and currently Joe Rogers, Jr. is CEO, and Bert Thornton is President.

In 2007, Waffle House re-purchased the original restaurant which was sold by the chain in the early 1970s and was most recently a Chinese restaurant
Chinese cuisine
Chinese cuisine is any of several styles originating in the regions of China, some of which have become highly popular in other parts of the world – from Asia to the Americas, Australia, Western Europe and Southern Africa...

. The company restored it using original blueprints for use as a private company museum. The museum is used primarily for internal corporate events and tours but will occasionally be open to the public.

In 2008 one of the biggest Waffle House franchises in the southeast, North Lake Foods, was bought out by Waffle House, Inc. North Lake Foods has been forced to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as well as close a couple of stores. Waffle House, Inc. plans to rehabilitate the franchise. In early 2009 East Coast Waffles bought NorthLake Foods to become a new franchise.

Waffle & Steak

For years, Waffle House was known as "Waffle & Steak" in Indiana due to another chain of restaurants owning the rights to the Waffle House name in the state. Reportedly, the original Indiana Waffle House chain has started using the name "Sunshine Cafe". However, the d/b/a for "Sunshine Cafe" belongs to "Waffle House Greenwood Inc.", established in 1981. The oldest "Waffle House" entity listed with the Corporations office of the Indiana Secretary of State is "Waffle House of Bloomington
Bloomington, Indiana
Bloomington is a city in and the county seat of Monroe County in the southern region of the U.S. state of Indiana. The population was 80,405 at the 2010 census....

, Indiana
Indiana
Indiana is a US state, admitted to the United States as the 19th on December 11, 1816. It is located in the Midwestern United States and Great Lakes Region. With 6,483,802 residents, the state is ranked 15th in population and 16th in population density. Indiana is ranked 38th in land area and is...

, Inc." established in 1967, and like Waffle House Greenwood, it is still an active corporation. (Many of the Waffle House corporations in Indiana have been dissolved.) "Waffle House Inc." of Norcross, Georgia registered with Indiana in 1974. In 2005, the Waffle & Steak restaurants all adopted the "Waffle House" moniker, bringing the entire chain under the iconic name.

Race relations

In January 2005, customers in four southern states filed suit against Waffle House for racial discrimination
Racism
Racism is the belief that inherent different traits in human racial groups justify discrimination. In the modern English language, the term "racism" is used predominantly as a pejorative epithet. It is applied especially to the practice or advocacy of racial discrimination of a pernicious nature...

. In their complaint
Complaint
In legal terminology, a complaint is a formal legal document that sets out the facts and legal reasons that the filing party or parties In legal terminology, a complaint is a formal legal document that sets out the facts and legal reasons (see: cause of action) that the filing party or parties In...

, they asserted that servers announced they would not serve blacks, that the servers deliberately served unsanitary food to minority patrons, that servers directed racial epithets at blacks, and that servers became verbally abusive when asked to wait on blacks. Juries exonerated Waffle House in the first two cases, and the plaintiffs were ordered to pay Waffle House's legal costs. In August 2005, a Virginia
Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

 Waffle House operator settled the lawsuits filed by 12 black, Asian-American and Hispanic patrons.

In 1960, when civil rights demonstrators were picketing many Atlanta businesses, many other businesses closed, but when Rogers saw demonstrators gathering outside a Waffle House, he walked outside, and invited the demonstrators to come in and eat.

Dateline NBC investigation

Apparently inspired by a serious Salmonella
Salmonella
Salmonella is a genus of rod-shaped, Gram-negative, non-spore-forming, predominantly motile enterobacteria with diameters around 0.7 to 1.5 µm, lengths from 2 to 5 µm, and flagella which grade in all directions . They are chemoorganotrophs, obtaining their energy from oxidation and reduction...

problem in 2003 at a Chili's
Chili's
Chili's Grill & Bar is a restaurant chain founded by Larry Lavine. The chain has more than 1400 casual dining restaurants, mostly located in the United States and Canada...

 location in Vernon Hills, Illinois
Vernon Hills, Illinois
Vernon Hills is a village in Lake County, Illinois, United States. The population was 20,120 at the 2000 census, and estimated to be 23,957 as of 2005...

, and by four deaths in 1993 from E. coli in undercooked hamburger
Hamburger
A hamburger is a sandwich consisting of a cooked patty of ground meat usually placed inside a sliced bread roll...

 at a Jack in the Box
Jack in the Box
Jack in the Box is an American fast-food restaurant founded by Robert O. Peterson in 1951 in San Diego, California, where it is still headquartered today. In total, the chain has 2,200 locations, primarily serving the West Coast of the United States...

, the Dateline NBC
Dateline NBC
Dateline NBC, or Dateline, is a U.S. weekly television newsmagazine broadcast by NBC. It previously was NBC's flagship news magazine, but now focuses on true crime stories. It airs Friday at 9 p.m. EST and after football season on Sunday at 7 p.m. EST.-History:Dateline is historically notable for...

television news magazine in 2004 investigated sanitation practices of popular American family restaurant chains, measuring the number of critical violations per inspection. The Waffle House averaged 1.6 critical violations per inspection. Waffle House's response to the study pointed out that they prepare all meals in an open kitchen, and consumers can readily observe their sanitation practices themselves.

Cultural icon

Much as other open-all-night eateries have (including White Castle
White Castle (restaurant)
White Castle is an American regional fast food hamburger restaurant chain in the Midwestern United States and in the New York metropolitan area, and the first of its kind in the US. It is known for its small, square hamburgers. Sometimes referred to as "sliders", the burgers were priced at five...

, Krystal
Krystal
Krystal may refer to:*Krystal , one of the oldest fast-food chains in the United States, founded in 1932-People:*Krystal Steal, an American porn star*Krystal Harris, an American pop singer*Krystal Meyers, a Christian rock musician...

, Denny's
Denny's
Denny's is a full-service coffee shop/family restaurant chain. It operates over 1,500 restaurants in the United States , Canada, Curaçao, Costa Rica, Honduras, Jamaica, Japan , Mexico, New Zealand, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates.Denny's is known for always being...

 and Krispy Kreme
Krispy Kreme
Krispy Kreme is the name of an international chain of doughnut stores that was founded by Vernon Rudolph in 1937 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The parent company of Krispy Kreme is Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Inc...

), Waffle House has developed into a cultural icon. Jim Ridley wrote in 1997:
The Waffle House is everywhere in the South. It has inspired country songs, comedy routines, loving editorials, a scene in the movie Tin Cup
Tin Cup
Tin Cup is a 1996 romantic comedy film co-written and directed by Ron Shelton, and starring Kevin Costner and Rene Russo with Cheech Marin and Don Johnson in major supporting roles.-Synopsis:...

, even Web sites and Internet newsgroups that breathlessly post late-breaking developments. With more than 1,200 locations in 21 states, as far north as Eastlake, Ohio
Eastlake, Ohio
As of the census of 2000, there were 20,255 people, 8,055 households, and 5,557 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,166.5 people per square mile . There were 8,310 housing units at an average density of 1,299.1 per square mile...

 and as far west as Arizona
Arizona
Arizona ; is a state located in the southwestern region of the United States. It is also part of the western United States and the mountain west. The capital and largest city is Phoenix...

, Waffle House is cherished by thousands of diners. Regular customers speak of its employees, its custom
Custom
Custom may refer to:* Convention , a set of agreed, stipulated or generally accepted rules, norms, standards or criteria, often taking the form of a custom* Customization , anything made or modified to personal taste...

s, and its food with near reverence. Touring musicians have been known to eat five meals a week there. And yet the Waffle House is so pervasive it's invisible. It doesn't advertise; it hides in plain sight.


Waffle House is called the "low-rent roadside cafe featuring waffle
Waffle
A waffle is a batter- or dough-based cake cooked in a waffle iron patterned to give a distinctive and characteristic shape. There are many variations based on the type and shape of the iron and the recipe used....

s" in the 1996 romantic comedy
Romantic Comedy
Romantic Comedy can refer to* Romantic Comedy , a 1979 play written by Bernard Slade* Romantic Comedy , a 1983 film adapted from the play and starring Dudley Moore and Mary Steenburgen...

 movie Tin Cup
Tin Cup
Tin Cup is a 1996 romantic comedy film co-written and directed by Ron Shelton, and starring Kevin Costner and Rene Russo with Cheech Marin and Don Johnson in major supporting roles.-Synopsis:...

, and is also shown in the 2006 film ATL
ATL (film)
ATL is a 2006 American drama film, and the feature film directorial debut of music video director Chris Robinson. The screenplay was written by Tina Gordon Chism from an original story by Antwone Fisher, and is loosely based on the experiences of the film's producers Dallas Austin and Tionne...

. The restaurant is also mentioned in the lyrics of the hit song "Bad Touch" by The Bloodhound Gang. It is also shown in the movie Due Date
Due Date
Due Date is a 2010 American comedy road film directed by Todd Phillips, co-written by Alan R. Cohen, Alan Freedland, and Adam Sztykiel, and starring Robert Downey, Jr. and Zach Galifianakis. The film was released on November 5, 2010...

when the main character is allergic to waffles, even though he picked the restaurant of choice. On the August 15, 2011 episode of WWE Raw
WWE RAW
WWE Raw ) is a sports entertainment television program for WWE that currently airs on the USA Network in the United States...

, wrestler CM Punk
CM Punk
Phillip Jack "Phil" Brooks , better known by his ring name CM Punk, is an American professional wrestler currently signed to WWE and working on its Raw brand currently serving his second title reign as WWE Champion....

 was referred to by fellow wrestler Kevin Nash
Kevin Nash
Kevin Scott Nash is an American professional wrestler and actor. As of 2011, Nash is signed to a five year contract with WWE under their WWE Legends program and appears as part of their Raw brand roster...

 as looking like "a short order cook from Waffle House" during a promo, which CM Punk replied "Hey, I like Waffle House. I don't know what you got against Waffle House." This has spawned a number of internet meme
Meme
A meme is "an idea, behaviour or style that spreads from person to person within a culture."A meme acts as a unit for carrying cultural ideas, symbols or practices, which can be transmitted from one mind to another through writing, speech, gestures, rituals or other imitable phenomena...

s associating the wrestler with Waffle House and his persona of being the voice of the common man.

The chain's restaurants almost always have a jukebox
Jukebox
A jukebox is a partially automated music-playing device, usually a coin-operated machine, that will play a patron's selection from self-contained media...

 which plays 45 rpm singles
Single (music)
In music, a single or record single is a type of release, typically a recording of fewer tracks than an LP or a CD. This can be released for sale to the public in a variety of different formats. In most cases, the single is a song that is released separately from an album, but it can still appear...

. Often the entire first column of selections and much of the second have songs about Waffle House and its food. Many of the songs are written and/or sung by people with connections to the chain, such as Mary Welch Rogers. The songs are on ordinary discs which are produced for Waffle House and are not commercially sold, but the chain has made a CD of some of the songs available for sale.

Waffle House has recently began providing reservation, candlelight service on Valentine's Day beginning in 2008 with one restaurant in Johns Creek, Georgia
Johns Creek, Georgia
Johns Creek is a suburban city in Fulton County, Georgia, USA, which incorporated December 1, 2006. It is named for a tributary that runs through the area. The city was created out of the northeastern part of unincorporated Fulton County...

 and growing into over 30 in 2009.

The servers use a proprietary version of diner lingo
Diner lingo
Diner lingo is a kind of American verbal slang used by cooks and chefs in diners and diner-style restaurants, and by the waitresses to communicate their orders to the cooks. It is virtually unknown outside the US.-History:...

 to call in orders, and the menu suggests some use of the same lingo when placing orders for hash brown potatoes: "scattered" (spread on the grill), "smothered" (with onions), "covered" (with cheese), "chunked" (with diced ham), "diced" (with diced tomatoes), "peppered" (with jalapeño peppers), "capped" (with mushrooms), "topped" (with chili) and "all the way" (with all available toppings). Recently, the option of "country" had been added for hashbrowns with sausage gravy on them.

Disaster recovery

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency
Federal Emergency Management Agency
The Federal Emergency Management Agency is an agency of the United States Department of Homeland Security, initially created by Presidential Reorganization Plan No. 1 of 1978 and implemented by two Executive Orders...

, Waffle House is one of the top four corporations, along with Wal-Mart
Wal-Mart
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. , branded as Walmart since 2008 and Wal-Mart before then, is an American public multinational corporation that runs chains of large discount department stores and warehouse stores. The company is the world's 18th largest public corporation, according to the Forbes Global 2000...

, The Home Depot
The Home Depot
The Home Depot is an American retailer of home improvement and construction products and services.The Home Depot operates 2,248 big-box format stores across the United States , Canada , Mexico and China, with a 12-store chain...

 and Lowe's
Lowe's
Lowe's Companies, Inc. is a U.S.-based chain of retail home improvement and appliance stores. Founded in 1946 in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina, the chain now serves more than 14 million customers a week in its 1,710 stores in the United States and 20 in Canada. Expansion into Canada began in...

, for disaster response. Waffle House has an extensive disaster management plan with on-site and portable generators and pre-positioned food and ice ahead of severe weather events such as a hurricane. This helps mitigate the effects of a storm on the power grid and the supply chains. The ability of a Waffle House to remain open after a severe storm, possibly with a limited menu, is used by FEMA as a measure of disaster recovery known as the Waffle House Index
Waffle House Index
The Waffle House Index is an informal metric used by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to determine the impact of a storm and the likely scale of assistance required for disaster recovery...

.

See also

  • Waffle House Index
    Waffle House Index
    The Waffle House Index is an informal metric used by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to determine the impact of a storm and the likely scale of assistance required for disaster recovery...

  • Golden Nugget Pancake House
    Golden Nugget Pancake House
    The Golden Nugget Pancake House is a chain of family restaurants originally launched in Florida but now operating exclusively in Chicago, Illinois. The restaurants serve breakfast 24 hours a day, and their decor generally has a Western motif.-History:...

  • IHOP
    IHOP
    IHOP may refer to:* IHOP, a restaurant chain, formerly known as The International House of Pancakes* International House of Prayer, a Christian 24/7 prayer center in Kansas City, Missouri...

  • The Original Pancake House
    The Original Pancake House
    The Original Pancake House is a chain of pancake houses across the United States. It follows traditional recipes and ingredients for their pancakes, but they have other breakfast items on their menu as well.-History:...

  • Walker Brothers
    Walker Brothers
    Walker Bros. is a series of pancake houses in the Chicago area.They developed as a franchised spin-off of The Original Pancake House, founded in Portland, Oregon in 1953 by Les Highet and Erma Hueneke; the Walker Bros. version has been in business for over 45 years...


External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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