- Waffle House has gone from 365 to 418 locations closed due to the coronavirus
- At locations that remain open, the chain promotes carryout to adhere to a policy of social distancing
- On Facebook, the chain keeps an updated tally that some interpret as a read on the national situation throughout the pandemic
As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, Waffle House has closed 418 of its locations across the U.S. On the other hand, it still has 1,574 locations still open and operational. This move comes as an effort to keep customers and employees alike safe and healthy during the pandemic.
News came via a Facebook post on Tuesday morning. One post included a map with locations marked in red or green based on being closed or open respectively. It also had the caption, “418 Waffle House restaurants closed. 1,574 open.” This is part of its recent series of posts, #WaffleHouseIndexRed. Previous posts praise the staff as “the true heroes” during this tumultuous time for citizens, stores, restaurants, and medical professionals alike.
Waffle House is closing many locations because of the coronavirus
Starting yesterday, March 24, the Waffle House Facebook page posted updates on coronavirus-related closures. The page denotes this new trend with the tag, #WaffleHouseIndexRed. The first announcement read, “365 Waffle House restaurants closed. 1,627 open.” This caption accompanies a map with all Waffle House locations in that region. Some, according to ABC News, view Waffle House’s index reading as a temperature reading for how the situation is on a national scale.
Even in today’s update, the number of green, open Waffle House locations outnumber those that are closed. However, the number did jump by 53 overnight. WAFB9 reports that Waffle House also issued a statement about the closures and its employees. The statement reads, “We want to acknowledge the great efforts of our associates, who work hard every shift to create a safe, warm and welcoming dining experience 24 hours daily.” It went on, “We are working hard to support them as we do our best to manage through this crisis.”
For now, that means prudence and taking it one day at a time
Today, Waffle House creeps gradually closer to having almost half of its locations closed across the U.S. due to the coronavirus. But this, according to the chain, is all to keep consumers and employees alike safe. The restaurant is also tackling the need for safety in other ways. Social media posts provide instructions to help people practice social distancing, outlined further below. One post reads, “All Waffle House restaurants are open right now, at least for to-go orders.”
Indeed, starting in mid-March, most of Waffle House’s Facebook posts exclusively talk about carryout options or something similar. Previously, statements outlined plans for extreme sanitization measures. The restaurant chain called on customers to allow staff to perform thorough cleanings as needed to maximize safety for everyone. Many comments on Facebook show support now for the carryout approach and eagerly await getting a meal. Others, though, are disgruntled by what they perceive as disregard for the employees and the belief that they should have closed dine-in options sooner. Ultimately, this is all another example of how COVID-19 is reshaping the restaurant landscape – temporarily, anyway.