Harvey’s destruction: How Waffle House can be a disaster indicator

The Waffle House Indicator has become a way to assess the extent of a weather disaster. According to the indicator, if all Waffle Houses in an area are closed, it is a sign conditions are extremely bad. But if the Waffle Houses are open, it is a positive sign that the extent of the damage may not be as bad as expected.

Waffle House External Affairs Director Pat Warner told the FOX Business Network’s Stuart Varney, of Varney & Co., that in the Houston area, “Eight of the 32 are closed, but expecting four of those to be back open today. So, we have four restaurants where we have some access issues and some water issues that we can’t open today.”

When Varney asked about how he would characterize the situation in Houston right now, Warner responded: “Right now it’s all about access, it’s hard to get around Houston. What we’re finding from our teams there is it’s taking time to find the right route to get to the different restaurants and that’s some of the issues that our associates are seeing coming to the restaurants. It’s about the road closures and flooding right now.”

According to Warner, the four restaurants the company was planning to reopen Tuesday were initially closed due to only access issues, not water issues, telling Varney: “We’re able to check in on our restaurants remotely and those restaurants have power, they’re in good shape, it’s just getting people to them right now.”

Warner says morale among Waffle House employees in the region is high and the company is sending a team to assist so workers can take care of their families.

“We have a lot of great associates in Houston, we have stories coming in from people coming in to take care of their customers. We’re also bringing in folks from outside the market to help the local restaurant operators.”