Friday, September 2, 2011


When FEMA bases its response strategies on whether or not you're open for business, you know you're doing a good thing.

While everyone has heard of the Big Mac Index, FEMA recently revealed their Waffle House Index, which they use to gauge the destructive aftermath of natural disasters. Since Waffle House, a US chain with over 1,600 locations from the mid-Atlantic to Florida and through the Gulf Coast, has gained a reputation for remaining open through thick or thin, any closures are assumed to mean that THINGS ARE VERY, VERY BAD.

To wit: Green means the local Waffle House in the area is carrying on business as usual, an indication that electricity is flowing and damage is scant. Yellow means it has scaled down a fair bit, implying that they're running on a temporary generator and low on inventory. Red means it's closed, one of the seven signs of the End of Times.

This, in part, is due to the Waffle House's survivalist business strategy, developed after Hurricane Katrina: be the first to hit the ground running after a hurricane strikes, and watch sales multiply two to three times when little else is around.

As Valerie Bauerlein writes for the Wall Street Journal:

"Waffle House responded to several other disasters this year before Irene hit. After a series of deadly tornadoes tore through Alabama and Georgia in late April, one restaurant was destroyed and another 20 were without power. The ones without power all reopened within three days."
Read more here.


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