Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Ode to Waffle House

No road trip travel blog would be complete without a mention of the American icon that is Waffle House.  The beginning of every road trip day requires a good breakfast, especially for the kids.  Kids may be picky eaters, but they universally seem to love breakfast foods. Stuffing them full at this meal so you can drive a good stretch before the whining sets in is a fairly easy task.  If the hotel you chose for the night offers a free breakfast, by all means take it. 

If you don't have breakfast included where you stopped, never fear.  Chances are with 1,600 restaurants in 25 states, there is a Waffle House nearby.  While Waffle House is a staple for locals it has also become one to travelers alike.  Our son almost looks forward to Waffle House more than our vacations themselves.   In fact, Waffle House has iPhone and Android apps as well as a restaurant locator that will map out locations along your travel route.  Add it to your cache of road trip planning tools because if traveling in Waffle House territory it will save you more than a few pennies and time plus give you a quintessential road trip dining experience.  And aren't experiences what the road trip is all about?

There are other breakfast places across the nation, sure.  None is like the Waffle House where you will fill up on down home breakfast at great prices and receive some of the best and homogenous hospitality to be found.  That's also not the only consistency you will find among the Waffle Houses.  Have you heard of The Waffle House Index?

A vast percentage of Waffle House locations are in hurricane-prone areas thus when a restaurant that is opened 24/7/365 is closed due to hurricane damage, it becomes a sort of informal but measurable form of damage assessment.  Over 60 plus years and countless hurricanes the company has come to recognize that during disasters two of the things people need are some sense of a return to normalcy and a good hot meal.  They have a crisis management team in place to support their restaurants in disaster areas like no other, including a mobile command center that has been nicknamed EM-50. (First to name the inspiration of the nickname in the comments just might receive a souvenir from an up coming road trip.)

Waffle House has now made an art of opening for service in disaster torn areas using generators and other means such as a storage of supplies to serve at least limited menus to customers who otherwise may have nowhere to go.  FEMA itself has even given the company a nod as a model for risk management, and let's face it, FEMA could learn from them.  As a former health inspector with an interest in disaster relief and sanitation, I'm certainly impressed.

If you haven't been to a Waffle House and I haven't at least piqued your curiosity or somewhat impressed you with my free advertisement for them, make sure you stop on your next road trip to try some of that food and congeniality. And speaking of the latter, don't forget to tip your server.

Thanks for stopping by and stay tuned for a suggestion about what to do with the pennies you've saved on your road trip.

Until then, Happy Trails.


  1. EM-50...from the movie Stripes?

  2. Yes! The EM-50 Urban Assault vehicle from Stripes.

  3. We make road trips fun by counting the Waffle House's we pass along the way! :)