Waffle House Index in the News Due to Hurricane Michael

Damage done by hurricanes no doubt disrupts supply chains bringing services and products to communities. The Waffle House Index has made the news in multiple publications as Hurricane Michael in Florida has triggered Waffle House to close 21 restaurants.

After years of noting the resiliency of Waffle House restaurants, FEMA director Craig Fugate developed the Waffle House to quickly communicate the level of hurricane damage in an area: Green = offering a full menu; Yellow = serving a limited menu (reduced power or  limited food supply); Red = not operating (EHS Today).

As noted in a 2011 FEMA post, “the Waffle House test doesn’t just tell us how quickly a business might rebound – it also tells us how the larger community is faring. The sooner restaurants, grocery and corner stores, or banks can re-open, the sooner local economies will start generating revenue again – signaling a stronger recovery for that community. The success of the private sector in preparing for and weathering disasters is essential to a community’s ability to recover in the long run.”

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