See inside Atlanta-based Waffle House ‘war room’ ahead of Hurricane Idalia

Waffle House may have to temporarily close around seven locations due to Idalia.
Published: Aug. 29, 2023 at 11:31 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - Waffle House is normally open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. One of the only times they close their doors is when severe weather strikes.

At Waffle House headquarters in Norcross, a team of leaders is tracking Hurricane Idalia. They’re sending teams to Florida and Coastal Georgia to help potentially close and re-open stores impacted by the storm.

Inside their “war room” they have radars, maps, and live camera feeds that can track which Waffle House locations have damage.

Will Mizell, Waffle House Vice President of Marketing, says safety comes first. If a store is in the direct path of a hurricane, they usually shut it down.

“Everything we do in this crisis is about people, power, and food,” Mizell said.

Once the storm blows through, Mizell says it’s the company’s goal to re-open as quickly as possible so their employees can make money and help comfort a community in crisis. He remembers the impact the restaurant chain had on New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina in the early 2000s.

“It just kind of gives them a little more normalcy and you kind of go, okay this was a really bad event. But at least I’ve got a good, warm meal and the people here are great, and I just feel better,” Mizell said.

Mizell said Tuesday night they were most concerned about their stores in Lake City and Live Oak, Florida.

Waffle House may have to temporarily close around seven locations due to Idalia. But they will continue to monitor all locations as the storm makes landfall.