Waffle House Famously Never Closes, But Hurricane Michael Has Forced 18 To Shut Their Doors

by Ileana Paules-Bronet
Ileana is the Editor of Original Content at LittleThings. She grew up in upstate New York and Oregon and now lives in Queens, NY. Ileana graduated from Skidmore College with a degree in sociology. After graduating, she attended the Columbia Publishing Course in New York City, then worked as in marketing at Oxford University Press. Since transitioning to editorial, she has written for sites like BuzzFeed, HuffPost, and Unwritten. She has also worked for local newspapers and magazines in upstate New York. In her free time, you can find Ileana watching Law and Order: SVU, eating ice cream, and spending time with her dog.

Waffle House, which is famous for staying open during some of the worst storms, has already closed 18 restaurants due to Hurricane Michael.

When Waffle House, which was founded in 1955, opened its doors, the business vowed to stay open all the time. Each restaurant is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. The restaurant chain is so famous for never closing that people started the urban myth that “Waffle House doors have no locks.”

Unfortunately, Hurricane Michael is forcing many locations to prove that myth wrong. Waffle House does, in fact, have locks, and managers have had to find their keys and lock up ahead of the category 4 hurricane.

Hurricane Michael slammed into the Florida Panhandle on Wednesday, October 10. “It’s the strongest hurricane to ever hit Florida’s panhandle,” reports CNN.

It might seem kind of silly to talk about restaurant closures during a devastating hurricane, but there’s a reason: the “Waffle House Index.” The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) realized years ago that it takes a lot for a Waffle House to close — so the Waffle House Index indicates how bad a storm really is.

There are three categories of the Waffle House Index: “Green” means the restaurant is open and operating as usual; “yellow” means it’s open but has a limited menu (due to power loss, low food supplies, and other issues); “red” means Waffle House is closed.

Thus, Hurricane Michael is “red” on the Waffle House Index. Although 18 locations of the famous restaurant are closed for the storm, Pat Warner, director of personal relations for Waffle House, told USA Today, “We will be there right after the storm to re-open.”

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