FEMA’s Waffle House Index Is Now At Code Red Due To COVID-19 Pandemic


The Waffle House Index – which is a real thing – is red today, after a total of 429 locations have temporarily closed their doors.

What is the Waffle House Index, and why is it a thing? FEMA uses this metric (unofficially) to asses the damage of a natural disaster. They gauge the amount of damage the rest of us can expect based on the number of locations that close – either in preparation for, or as a response to a crisis. Waffle House is legendary for keeping there restaurants open – when they start shutting down, people notice.

Craig Fugate, former Director of Florida’s Emergency Management Division, originally used this metric to predict how quickly a community could get back up and running after a hurricane. He called it “The Waffle House Test”. You can find FEMA’s article here.

An EHS Today article explains why this is such an effective metric. Waffle House has many locations that are particularly susceptible to hurricanes. Over time, they’ve developed strong preparedness plans, not only in preparation for the disaster itself, but also for the supply chain disruptions that might occur as a result of the disaster. The article states:

For example, if a Waffle House store is open and offering a full menu, the index is green. If it is open but serving from a limited menu, it’s yellow. When the location has been forced to close, the index is red…. “They have temporary warehouses where they can store food and most importantly, they know they can operate without a full menu. This is a great example of a company that has learned from the past and developed an excellent emergency plan.”

As of 3/26/20, 429 locations have closed – 13 in the Charlotte area. If the Waffle House near you has closed, don’t panic, but do gather supplies and prepare to hunker down.

13 Charlotte area Waffle House locations that have temporarily closed:

Waffle House #499

501 Westinghouse Blvd Charlotte NORTH CAROLINA 28273-6225 US

Waffle House #914

1729 Bessemer City Rd Gastonia NORTH CAROLINA 28052 US

Waffle House #1034

1300 Highway 9 Byp W Lancaster SOUTH CAROLINA 29720 US

Waffle House #1127

13727 E Independence Blvd Indian Trail NORTH CAROLINA 28079 US

Waffle House #1306

2868 Lane St Kannapolis NORTH CAROLINA 28083 US

Waffle House #1425

20130 W Catawba Ave Cornelius NORTH CAROLINA 28031 US

Waffle House #1601

278 Concord Pkwy S Concord NORTH CAROLINA 28027-6700 US

Waffle House #1632

1100 Dallas Cherryville Hwy Dallas NORTH CAROLINA 28034-8710 US

Waffle House #1707

1444 E Main St Lincolnton NORTH CAROLINA 28092-3902 US

Waffle House #1836

1718 US 52 N Albemarle NORTH CAROLINA 28001-8503 US

Waffle House #2011

1010 Vinehaven Dr NE Concord NORTH CAROLINA 28025-2438 US

Waffle House #2289

3855 Concord Pkwy S Concord NORTH CAROLINA 28027-9057 US

Waffle House #2336

10910 Woodland Beaver Rd Charlotte NORTH CAROLINA 28215 US

You can check to see if the Waffle House near you has closed on their website here.