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What Would Waffle House Do in an Emergency?

Watch the General Session from NFMT Remix that outlines Waffle House's disaster preparedness strategies

Join Larry Sigler, Director of Food Safety and a 23‐year veteran of the iconic restaurant chain as he outlines Waffle House's disaster preparedness strategies and coordinated response activities both on the ground and in the corporate office. This video highlights Larry's unique and valuable perspectives shaped by more than 16 responses to hurricanes and other crises, and unpacks the Waffle House Index, an innovative program that determines the anticipated severity of a pending disaster.

The Waffle House Index, coined by Craig Fugate, former head of FEMA, originated during Hurricane Charlie. The index uses color codes to assess the impact of disasters on Waffle House operations: red for closed, yellow for limited menu, and green for fully operational.

The Waffle House Index became a practical tool during hurricanes, serving as an indicator of a community's condition. If Waffle House is open with a full menu, it suggests minimal damage, while a closed Waffle House indicates severe issues like power outages and structural damage.

During Hurricane Ian in 2022, Waffle House provided essential services and a sense of normalcy for communities affected by disasters. The following year, the company's response to Hurricane Idalia included their four-step process: plan, prep, prepare, and respond.

The presentation also touches on the company's experience during the COVID-19 pandemic, where more than 700 restaurants closed temporarily, but Waffle House's focus on people and community helped them rebound.

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