Here at stately DEM Manor, we can be pretty serious about our food. No blog post on Be Ready Lexington has generated as much in-house discussion as last year’s Preparedness Gift Guide post on emergency rations. Yet in that post, we neglected to mention one critical element in your post-disaster menu plan: waffles.
The Atlanta-based Waffle House restaurant chain is one of America’s most capable companies when it comes to disaster response and recovery. After Hurricane Katrina destroyed seven stores and shut down over a hundred more, Waffle House revamped preparedness measures across the board. The company invested in emergency generators and developed an emergency menu for use in conditions of limited utilities or supplies. These preparations have paid off in subsequent disasters, allowing the chain to stay open when all other businesses in a community were shuttered.
This resilience came to the attention of FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate during the 2011 hurricane season. As an informal diagnostic of the damage a community had suffered, he coined the Waffle House Index, a color-coded scale of restaurant status. Green indicates a Waffle House operating normally, yellow denotes one running on its emergency menu or otherwise in limited operations, and red highlights a completely closed restaurant. While it’s not a substitute for a formal damage survey, if a disaster has exceeded Waffle House’s ability to keep a location open, conditions on the ground are probably pretty bad and FEMA may want to take a closer look at the area.
What’s your workplace doing to be as resilient as Waffle House?
Disclaimer: The Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government and the LFUCG Division of Emergency Management do not endorse any goods, services, vendors, or service providers mentioned in our blog posts, social media statements, press releases, or website content. Any mention of commercial products, even waffles, is for informational purposes only.