I was three years old when the first Waffle House® opened in Avondale Estates, Georgia back in 1955. I would not eat in one until I could drive.
My first Waffle House® memory is from Dayton, Ohio. I’m not exactly sure, but I think it was the one in Moraine, but, it was late, I’d been out, and my memory may have been impaired.
I am sure I was not the only one there in that condition.
The original restaurant was thought UP and started by Joe Rogers and Tom Forkner. Both men continue to be majority owners of the company. Rogerst started in the restaurant business as a short-order cook in 1947 at Toddle House in New Haven, CT.
By 1949, he was a regional manager.
He moved to Atlanta and met Tom Forkner who was his realtor.
His concept for a restaurant was to combine the speed of fast food with table service – hence their slogan, “Good Food, Fast.”
And, he wanted it to be an around the clock deal.
Waffles were the most profitable item on the limited menu – there were 16 items then – so they called it the Waffle House®.
Rogers left Toddle House in 1956 and went full time with the Waffle House® venture.
By 1960, they had four restaurants, and began franchising. They grew to 27 stores by the late 60s.
Today, there are 1,500 restaurants, mostly in the Southeast, but reaching to Northern Ohio and all the way to Arizona.
They serve 2% of the eggs used in the US food service industry, and are the leading seller of waffles, omlets, and T-bone steaks.
It’s kind of a big deal.
A good food, good service combination has made the Waffle House® a southern icon.
Though most customers are just regular folks, it’s not unusual to see celebrities at the counter or in a booth.
Kid Rock made head-lines at a Waffle House® when a fight broke out.
Outkast are regulars, and were kind enough to bring Kanye along.
Adam Sandler and his family couldn’t get a table at a competitor, so they came to the Waffle House® where I go every day, and were seated instantly.
Open 24/7/365, you can get breakfast, lunch, or dinner any time of the day. Everything is fresh, prepared to order, and cooked where you can see it.
It’s my home away from home. When I walk in, my coffee’s on the counter, and Caleb, Cat, or Reese are already cooking my breakfast.
I’m a regular, and it’s a place where everybody knows your name.
No matter what time, no matter what day, it’s a constant.
Ice storm, they’re open.
Flood, they’re open.
Hail, sleet, snow, they’re gonna’ be there.
Whether you like things scattered or smothered, they’ve got you covered!