Waffle House, a restaurant chain well-noted for its ability to remain open despite various circumstances, announced Tuesday it would be temporarily shuttering one-fifth of the restaurants under its umbrella. Through its social media platforms, Waffle House announced it would be closing 365 locations in areas that are currently being hit hardest via the coronavirus pandemic. A map posted to the official Waffle House Twitter feed today showed most locations being closed are in the American Rust Belt — the majority being in Ohio with additional in Illinois and Kentucky. Another area with substantial Waffle House closures is the Mid-Atlantic region with Maryland, Virginia, and Delaware.
Shortly after Waffle House announced the closures, fans quickly took to Twitter to share a common idea — Waffle Houses rarely, if ever, close. In 2011, FEMA administrator Craig Fugate coined the "Waffle House Index," an informal scale in which the emergency judges the seriousness of disasters. A "green" level on the scale means Waffle House has a full menu and in turn, the local storm damage likely isn't severe. The "yellow" level is a partial menu, menu power in the area could be limited while the "red" level means the restaurant is closed and the area has likely suffered substantial damage.
Comments from Waffle House connoisseurs can be found below.
Cover photo by John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images
It's Going to Be a Long Haul
Look me in the eye and tell me something that can close 360 Waffle Houses is going to be "all better by Easter". https://t.co/jUi3YM9xkR— d j o r f f (@jurph) March 25, 2020
It's Real Now
It’s real real now. Waffle Houses do not close. Just ask anybody in Hurricane prone areas.— GhostyGirlonLockdown (@ghostylee140) March 24, 2020
Waffle House index: if after a hurricane, local waffle houses are open with a full menu, things are basically good. Limited menu, they’re ok. If they close, it’s bad.
After Hurricane Katrina, 107 closed.
365 closed today.— Dr. David Shiffman (@WhySharksMatter) March 25, 2020
What About IHOP
Every southerner, my whole life: "When Waffle Houses close, that's when you know it's serious. Waffle House Index! Only disaster metric I trust!"
Now watch as many of them abandon even this ingrained wisdom. They'll go own libs at ihop. Terrorists hate us for our ihop— Jason Kirk, social distancing expert (@thejasonkirk) March 25, 2020
"oh well we started to take it seriously when the waffle houses closed" is gonna be in a history book— Karen (@karen_darlin) March 25, 2020
Waffle Houses are closing??? It really is the end of the world https://t.co/bvnlQ1yL9h— Meso(Simpioma) (@thelioma_meso) March 24, 2020