Code Red: How “The Rona” Shook The Unshakeable Waffle House

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By Justice Allen

  • Waffle House officially declared a red index and closes at least 420 locations
  • Headquartered in Atlanta, company analysts develop statistical models to predict the impact an impending disaster

If any restaurant chain were to square up with the coronavirus and win, it was supposed to be Waffle House. Unfortunately, with the arrival and effects of COVID-19, 70% of their normal sales have been eliminated and forced Waffle House to close 420 of its locations. The Southern chain is known to be prepared for any and all types of emergencies. So much so that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) came up with the informal metric “Waffle House Index”, meant to gauge the effects of local natural disasters, that now stands at red.

Why This Matters: In the event of an impending disaster, the company quickly goes into damage control mode. It begins at Waffle House headquarters, located just outside of Atlanta, a city with a 51% Black population, the company’s analysts comb through data and develop statistical models to predict what sort of impact an impending disaster could have on individual restaurants. The hundreds of shuttered Waffle House locations are scattered throughout the entire country, from Louisiana to Ohio, according to a map the company shared on Twitter. Unfortunately, in Louisiana Black people account for one-third of the  population, but represent more than 70% of the state’s deaths from COVID-19.

FEMA came up with the informal metric “Waffle House Index”, meant to gauge the effects of local natural disasters

As the unofficial barometer for how bad things are, the company’s index is painting a pretty grim picture. Basically, if Waffle Houses in the area were open and serving up its full menu, everything was all good according to FEMA. Having weathered the nastiest times mother nature had to offer, Waffle House officially declared a red index, as it can’t fend off the coronavirus. There are three levels to The Waffle House Index which are Green: open for business; normal operations, Yellow: hours and/or menu are limited, and Red: closed.

What’s Next: Despite the current state of affairs, hope isn’t lost for the legendary food chain as the company reported more than 1,500 locations are open in “various capacities”, with 1,278 locations operating as takeout only. The lingering question now is how long can Waffle House sustain this activity with a red index level, while we all quarantine in the crib.

CBx Vibe:Alright” Kendrick Lamar

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