HOW WAFFLE HOUSE’S HURRICANE RESPONSE TEAM PREPARES FOR DISASTER.
Hurricane preparation for many can be a scramble, but for Waffle House, it’s a game of chess with military-style strategy and execution. Before a storm hits, and even before hurricane season, the company makes storm checklists for each location, meets with local authorities, and educates new employees, though many have been through 15 hurricanes. . . .
A Waffle House jump team consists of a small team of restaurant operators from outside the hurricane zone. These employees swoop in at the first possible moment after a storm to restore service and get things open. Typically after a storm, demand for food is high and functioning restaurants are in low supply, and things get extremely busy. . . .
One of the reasons why these jump teams are the key to the chain’s success is because employees may not be able to work if they’re dealing with their own hurricane damage.
“It does help to bring operators from outside so it relieves [local employees] so they can focus on family,,” said Warner. “They don’t have to worry about their restaurant at the same time.”
During Hurricane Katrina, Warner said Waffle House worked beyond its restaurants to provide temporary lodging for its workers, putting tarps on employees’ roofs and shipping in hard-to-find essentials like diapers and formula.