Waffle House Never Closes (Unless It’s Really Bad)

The Waffle House fast food chain is legendary for never closing — even in the worst of weather. But how is it doing up against a pandemic?

Matt J Weber 🦢
The Startup
Published in
6 min readApr 20, 2020


When one of the most powerful storm systems the Earth’s atmosphere can summon is bearing down on a populated area, it’s customary for a typical roadside fast food chain to close up shop and wait for the storm to pass.

But not Waffle House.

A Waffle House never closes. They are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year. Some say the doors on a Waffle House don’t even have locks.

Of course there are many all-night diners inhabiting the interstate highways of America. Waffle House could easily be just another generic breakfast place serving long haul truckers and local drunks in equal measure.

But Waffle House’s operating hours are more than a late night convenience. They are a promise — no, more binding than any promise. It’s corporate policy. Good food fast, all the time, regardless of the prevailing weather conditions.

For example:

In 2011, on a late Sunday afternoon in May, a tornado nearly a mile wide in diameter, capable of tearing the rebar from concrete, made a