Moore to the Point - Why Limit the Waffle House Index to Natural Disasters?

Note: This “Moore to the Point” commentary aired on NewsTalkSTL on Wednesday, September 28th. Audio included below.

There’s nothing quite like enjoying breakfast or brunch at a great restaurant – and I don’t just mean those of the fancy variety. Diners serve up some of the best breakfast food around and, with thousands of locations, Waffle House provides that diner atmosphere in readily available fashion.


Not only that, with Hurricane Ian fast approaching Florida, I recently learned that Waffle House serves another vital function: The Waffle House Index was cooked up by FEMA as an informal measure of the severity of a given storm (or other calamity). It’s based on the restaurant’s reputation for staying open during and/or reopening quickly after natural disasters. Waffle House even has a “storm playbook” and special, limited menus for times when they may be without power or water.

According to the Waffle House Index, green means a restaurant is open and has the full menu available; yellow means it’s operating with limited power or food; red means it’s closed.


But why limit the Waffle House Index to natural disasters? If we measure things like inflation with CPI, why not measure the economy – even national security – with WHI? The way I see it – even when things look bleak, if you can snag yourself some bacon, grits, and smashed, smothered, and covered hashbrowns, you can be pretty sure you’re going to be alright.



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