Every week, it seems like we hear reports of a crime being committed at a Waffle House. And it’s true: A quick scan of Google News reveals a Lawrence, Indiana, Waffle House robbed four times in three months; a fatal shooting at a Waffle House in New Albany, Indiana; shots fired at a Waffle House near Charlotte; a Waffle House robbery in Camden, Delaware; a woman shot at a Waffle House in Oklahoma City; a woman who grabbed money from the register at a Hermitage, Tennesse, Waffle House; a beating at a Waffle House in North Little Rock, Arkansas; and the murder of a waitress at a Waffle House in Biloxi, Mississippi; all in news reports from the past month! So what gives? Why does Waffle House appear to be a hotbed of criminal activity?
There are a few factors at play here. One, there are many Waffle House locations in cities and neighborhoods that historically have high crime rates. Two, Waffle House is open 24 hours a day, and if anyone’s ever been to an all-night diner at 3 a.m., you probably know that some unsavory characters can come out at night. Three, in many places, Waffle House is the only restaurant open around the clock, so it’s bound to attract some misfits. It’s also inexpensive and open to all.
But it’s also important to keep in mind that this is a problem that faces the entire 24-hour diner industry, not just Waffle Houses. “It’s not that more of these stories happen at Waffle Houses," Kelly Thrasher, a spokesperson for the chain, told Minyanville in 2011. “It’s just getting more attention when it happens at a Waffle House.”