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As Florence Approaches, Waffle House’s Storm Command Center Activates

Members of Waffle House’s corporate staff move into emergency mode at the company’s Norcross headquarters Wednesday. They’ll provide information to crews on the ground in storm-affected areas to help keep stores open or reopen them as soon as possible if Hurricane Florence caused their closure.
Members of Waffle House’s corporate staff move into emergency mode at the company’s Norcross headquarters Wednesday. They’ll provide information to crews on the ground in storm-affected areas to help keep stores open or reopen them as soon as possible if Hurricane Florence caused their closure.
Credit Jim Burress / WABE

As residents along the Southeast coast prepared for Hurricane Florence on Wednesday, a relatively small but well-known Atlanta-based corporation was busy developing a strategy.

For Breakfast.

Norcross-based Waffle House is one of the companies federal authorities use to measure the severity of a storm’s effect — because if the Waffle House is closed, you’d better believe the conditions are dangerous.

In advance of the storm Wednesday, the company’s storm command center was fully activated.

Norcross-based Waffle House is one of the companies federal authorities use to measure the severity of a storm’s effect. As many believe: If the Waffle House is closed, the conditions are dangerous. (Wikimedia Commons)

The job of the handful of people sitting around a table in a small conference room at the top of the stairs is to gather and assess information as it happens and then quickly make decisions for the 230 or so restaurants in the path of the storm.

“All Things Considered” host Jim Burress and producer Asia Simone Burns paid a visit to the command center, where supersized TV monitors flashed the latest maps of the storm’s path.

Clustered on the middle screen were countless green rectangles — they resembled a single Lego brick— one stacked atop the other.

Those represented Waffle House locations open and operating normally. But if you looked closely, you’d see a few rectangles had shifted color. Waffle House spokesman Pat Warner picked up the story.