NORCROSS, Ga. (WGCL) — “If Waffle House is open keep driving,” said Pat Warner, director of public relations and external affairs for Waffle House.
It’s the unofficial emergency index officials look to during hurricane season.
“If waffle house is on limited menu there’s probably limited resources, keep driving, and drive to the first waffle house that’s closed you know it’s really bad there,” added Warner.
It’s part and parcel for a team that’s been at it for 30 years, keeping employees safe and restaurants open. There’s even a playbook.
“One of the most important things, is how to close a restaurant down, because we don’t do that,” said Warner.
The company closely monitors a storm’s condition and sends multiple reports to FEMA a day. The center has a direct link updating emergency services on a community’s status where the restaurants are located.
Waffle House ‘Jump Teams’ mobilize to bring extra team members, power, supplies, and general relief.
“Last year when Hurricane Michael came through we sent close to 30 trucks of food, we sent in over 300 people in jump teams to help restaurants re-open.”
As one of the last places operating and first up and running, first responders benefit from what the storm center is able to achieve.
“We’re a haven for the first responders, we’re there for the power companies, there for the national guard. So, we want to be there for them cos they’re coming back to get our communities up and running,” said Warner.