waffle house index coronavirus
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Waffle House Index Red: Coronvirus Leads to 400-plus Restaurants Closed

The Waffle House Index is usually used by FEMA to calculate the severity of a storm
waffle house index coronavirus
Robwilson39/Dreamstime.com

Coronavirus has now closed more Waffle House restaurants than Hurricane Katrina did.

On Wednesday, March 25, the 24/7 breakfast chain tweeted that 418 Waffle House locations were closed, while 1,574 remain open. The tweet also indicated a Waffle House index red, the most severe tier on the metric, which is typically used by FEMA to informally determine the effect of natural disasters.

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For context, an index green means the restaurant is open and serving a full menu. Yellow indicates it's serving a limited menu. Red means the restaurant is closed.

“The Waffle House test doesn’t just tell us how quickly a business might rebound — it also tells us how the larger community is faring,” FEMA director of external affairs Dan Stoneking wrote in 2012. “The sooner restaurants, grocery and corner stores, or banks can re-open, the sooner local economies will start generating revenue again — signaling a stronger recovery for that community.”

It’s unclear whether or not local governments have forced these restaurants to shutter, or if that’s in the hands of corporate or franchisees. The Daily Meal has reached out to Waffle House for comment.

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