Out in the Atlantic Ocean, Hurricane Matthew was hurling winds of 115 miles an hour toward the coast of Florida. Hundreds of miles inland, in the headquarters of Waffle House Inc., Stark’s software predicted that 477 of the chain’s almost 1,900 restaurants might be affected by the onrushing storm.

    This meant two things. First, as the storm made landfall, some locations of Waffle House — which boasts that every restaurant stays open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year — would probably have to close because of power loss or concerns for workers’ safety. And second, sometime after they did, someone would invoke the “Waffle House Index,” the slightly flippant measure of how bad a storm can get.


Fun story: we love Waffle House. When Superstorm Sandy was making its way up the east coast, a decent amount of stuff in Richmond closed (downtown is right by the river, and flooding is not unusual). My and my wife's employers were both among them. Thankfully it ended up not being more than a lot of rain, but at the time we weren't sure what would happen. But at least that morning, rain is all it was, so we went to Waffle House. I remember saying something about being surprised they were open, and our waitress was like, "yeah, they'll only close if there's a tornado."

posted by ButterflyEffect: 323 days ago