7 Things We Can Learn From Waffle House Reopening

The breakfast chain may be setting an example for how dining will look once lockdowns lift.

By Bradley Daves | April 28, 2020

If you are not a regular at Waffle House, you just need to know one thing: Waffle House never closes, no matter how severe the natural disaster. Exception? Covid-19 epidemic.

It has been known for 55 years that the chain of restaurants at breakfast is left open between very destructive storms and hurricanes. However, the coronavirus has effectively destroyed this almost complete record.

This is known as the Waffle House Index - the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) sometimes uses it to find out how severe a storm really is. There are three levels. The restaurant offers full service and full menus at the green level, but limited menus can be offered at the yellow level, either due to insufficient electricity or food supply. The restaurant on the red level has had to close due to serious damage.

For this reason, the restaurant did not announce Code Red this time. Given the social unrest at the forefront of consumers and public health officials, it will be possible in the coming months to implement new rules for both seated and fast-food restaurants, in the form of site protective elevators. This is necessary.

Things can’t go back like that, at least not before and maybe not for long. If we could get vaccinated, at least, the diet would be a little different. Brookwen, Georgia Waffle House reopened yesterday, and staff are already taking all necessary precautions.

Here are seven things that employees at this location are now doing differently and will do until further notice.


People will not be able to sit as closely as before.

inside diner

A six-foot is a good benchmark where customers have to sit except when not gathered. Wafflehouse employees in Brooklyn have already placed plastic bags behind four of the six stools in front of the counter.


Placemat menus will be replaced with disposable ones.

family out to eat

It is still unclear whether you can infect objects with the coronavirus. However, we know that the virus on plastic and stainless steel can last up to three days. For this reason, Waffle House has removed the reusable placemats menu from its dining room and replaced it with a disposable paper menu. Customers can still request plastic parts that are properly cleaned and disinfected after each use.3

A capacity limit will be enforced.

traditional diner

Each location has signs on the door that clearly indicate capacity limits based on the size and layout of the restaurant. Many popular restaurant chains should fit.


Touchpoints will have to be sanitized, often.


Waffle House is not the only restaurant in which they eat and drink in some places, in other restaurant chains, and even among customers with interactive games in bars. As a precaution, all these things have to be cleaned up again and again.


Patrons who are sick won't be allowed to dine in.

coughing man

Those who arrive and are blind (coughing, sneezing or other symptoms) are told to take immediate leave to avoid the virus and other diseases.


Employees will wear masks at all times.

woman wearing face mask

A given DLG with a waiter can at least literally show a new general change. Wearing this mask protects employees and customers.


Tables and booths will have to be sanitized regularly.

diner booth

In addition to games and jukeboxes, tables and booths must be cleaned and then thoroughly cleaned before sitting at another (small) party. Simply cleaning is not enough.

Eat Essentials is constantly monitoring the latest food news as it relates to COVID-19 in order to keep you healthy, safe, and informed (and answer your most urgent questions). Here are the precautions you should be taken at the grocery store, the foods you should have on hand, the meal delivery services and restaurant chains offering takeout you need to know about, and ways you can help support those in need. We will continue to update these as new information develops.

Madison Peternell : This place is a gem. They have several dozen varieties of dumplings. All frozen so you can take them home and stock up your freezer. There are vegetarian options, and a variety of meats as well (chicken, shrimp, pork, lamb, etc.). They have menus printed with a listing of the dumplings.
Matthew Diggity : This site has really good ramen! Before COVID hit, the wait times were insane (~1.5 hours+). If you're reading this after indoor dining is allowed again, I don't think the wait time is worth it over an hour. If the line is under an hour, I would definitely recommend a visit!
Madison Peternell : if you have time, take a look at their menu so you're familiar with their offerings. They also have my favorite black vinegar and dipping sauces available, so it's a one stop shop!