"It just doesn't happen where Waffle House is normally shut down," Philip Strouse, FEMA's private sector liaison for the Southeast, told Markeplace in 2015. "They're the canary in the coalmine, if you will."
During Irma and Hurricane Harvey, officials with Waffle House created plans for restaurants in the hurricanes paths, like offering a limited menu in the case a location loses power and enlisting "jump teams" from other states to assist in keeping certain locations open as long as safety wasn't a concern, according to Warner.
“If the Waffle House is closed, our associates are not making money, so we feel there is a responsibility to them to get opened quickly after a storm,” Warner says. “Each storm has it’s own personality, and we learn something from each one. The best we can do is be prepared and be ready to roll back in right after.”