10 Things You Never Knew About Waffle House

Waffle House is a restaurant chain mostly in the South. It’s loved and adored by friends, neighbors, and passersby, but there are probably a few things about the restaurant chain you never knew.

Waffle House

Waffle House | Waffle House via Facebook

1. Atlanta has the most waffle houses of any state

The city reportedly has 132 Waffle House locations. And with a size of only 134 square miles, that means there is one Waffle House per nearly every square mile in the city. Georgia also has the most Waffle House locations of any state — close to 400. Nationally, there are about 2,100 locations.

2. The chain serves 341 strips of bacon per minute

Imagine eating 341 strips of bacon in a minute? Joey Chestnut probably couldn’t even do that, but that’s the amount Waffle House locations serve. According to the Waffle House website, if you lined up the strips of bacon they serve per year, it would be long enough to stretch around the entire equator.

3. They serve 208,800 waffles per day

That’s based on the 145 per minute their website says. The Waffle House was originally named for its biggest money maker, the waffle, so it doesn’t come as much of a surprise that they sell about 209,000 waffles each day. Plus, they’re one of the only restaurant chains in the country that stays open 24 hours, so they likely get a decent late-night crowd.

4. The restaurant is used to judge natural disasters

It’s crazy but true. Since Waffle Houses are always open, if a natural disaster strikes and forces the restaurant to close, FEMA knows the situation is extremely serious. And this isn’t a rumor — FEMA officials have actually said they partially gauge a storm’s damage by whether or not the Waffle House is up and running.

5. The original location is now a museum

You can visit the original Waffle House, but you can’t order a meal. That’s because it’s been turned into a museum. And yes, you can actually book a tour (by appointment only, and only on Wednesdays). It’s in Avondale Estates, Georgia.

6. They serve enough coffee per year to fill eight Olympic swimming pools

People love their coffee, and Waffle House knows that better than anywhere. They note on their website that if they added up all the coffee they serve in one year, it would be enough to fill eight Olympic-sized swimming pools.

7. The two founders were neighbors

The two founders, Joe Rogers Sr. and Tom Forkner, were neighbors in the small town of Avondale Estates, Georgia. They decided one day that the neighborhood needed a restaurant to be open 24 hours to better serve the public. They brewed the Waffle House idea in their heads, and launched their first business together.

8. Labor Day marks the Waffle House anniversary

The first Waffle House opened on Labor Day in 1955. When Rogers and Forkner decided to go into business together, there was only one other 24-hour restaurant open in the Atlanta metropolitan area. Waffle House became one of the first-ever fast casual restaurants (a term that wasn’t even around when it opened).

9. The restaurant takes Valentine’s Day reservations

And that’s not all. If you want a romantic dinner for Valentine’s Day, consider Waffle House. They actually decorate for the occasion and even go so far as to put white tablecloths on their tables. It’s the only time of year a candlelit dinner at Waffle House is a thing.

10. Waffle House locations do have keys and locks, despite rumors

It has been rumored that Waffle Houses don’t have keys or locks, but this isn’t true. Despite being open 24 hours, every restaurant has doors that lock in the event of an emergency or natural disaster. And of course, you’ll need a key to reopen that door. (No, they do not bury the keys under the cement, as legend says.)

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