12 things you didn't know about Waffle House

Published: Tuesday, June 14, 2016 @ 11:55 AM
Updated: Tuesday, June 14, 2016 @ 1:12 PM

5 Fast Breakfast Facts

The soft glow from Waffle House’s black and yellow sign has been beckoning hungry travelers to stop, rest and dine for over 60 years.

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For many people, including Anthony Bourdain, eating at the restaurant is a unique experience. But if you think you know everything about the restaurant chain, think again.

Even the most devoted WaHo patrons may be surprised with these unusual facts about the company.

1. In a year, Waffle House serves 25,000 miles of bacon. If you laid out all the Smithfield Bacon that Waffle House serves in one year end-to-end, it would wrap around the earth’s equator. That’s a lot of miles of greasy goodness.

2. Waffle House has its own music label. The yellow-roofed restaurant has been concocting its recipes since 1955, but it began creating its own music 30 years ago. If you scroll through any Waffle House jukebox, there’s 40 original Waffle House songs. Hard to believe? Well, listen to one of Waffle House’s hits entitled “There are Raisins in My Toast.” WaHo’s musical playlist doesn’t stop there. The franchise has also dipped its toes into the syrupy waters of Gospel music.

3. School buses inspired the restaurant’s color scheme. Co-founder Joe Rogers Senior picked the colors yellow and black because it reminded him of a school bus. He thought it would increase the restaurant’s visibility to drivers. It’s a common misconception that the founders chose the colors because Joe was a graduate from Georgia Institute of Technology, whose official colors are yellow and black.

4. FEMA has a Waffle House Index. Waffle House takes its commitment to being open 24/7 seriously. If disaster strikes, the chain has its own disaster management plan, which includes buying portable food generators, ice and food in advance. One of the first places the Federal Emergency Management Agency turns to gauge a natural disaster’s severity is Waffle House --it’s called the Waffle House Index

5. Waffle House has its own merchandise! You can purchase anything ranging from a WaHo hoodie to a vintage neon Waffle House clock on the restaurant’s website.

6. Valentine’s Day at Waffle House is a big deal. For the past eight years or so, designated Waffle Houses have organized romantic candle-lit dinners for couples on Valentine’s Day. The idea began in Johns Creek, Georgia, but now over 150 restaurant locations participate.

7. Waffle House has a unique call-in system. Have you ever noticed that colored tile on a Waffle House’s restaurant floor? Well, sale associates are instructed to stand on the colored tile when calling in an order. That way, the person working on the grill can easily hear the order.

8. The support team spends one day a year working in the restaurant. Although Waffle House’s support team isn’t involved in the day-to-day operations of the restaurant, team members -- who work in Waffle House's corporate offices -- spend one day of the year working inside the restaurant. 

9. Waffle House is named after its most expensive menu item. Waffle House’s original menu had 16 items on it, and its most expensive menu item was the waffle. The founders named the restaurant after the waffle because they thought it would generate a big profit.

10. The restaurant’s founders still stop by to visit. The company’s founders, Tom Forkner and Joe Rogers Sr., are both in their late 90’s and are still involved with their brand. Tom visits the company’s headquarters three times a week. Joe, who is unable to drive, calls to check in on the company two or three times a month.

11. The menu items are named after real people. Bert’s Chili was named after an employee who served at the company for over 30 years. Alice’s iced tea was also named after an employee who helped perfect the restaurant’s signature iced tea. 

12. The restaurant had a cash-only policy until 2006. Waffle House resisted using credit cards because management feared that it would interfere with its promised 20-minute turnaround time. Also, the chain had to update it system to take credit cards. 

Have you always wondered what Waffle House order you would be? Take this quiz to find out!  

Tyler Perry buys car for mother of boy born without kidneys

Published: Friday, November 24, 2017 @ 1:59 PM

Two-year-old A.J. Burgess with his parents, Carmellia Burgess and Anthony Dickerson. A.J. was born without kidneys. His father is a perfect match and willing donor, but hospital protocol pushed back the surgery after Dickerson violated probation.
Handoff via The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Two-year-old A.J. Burgess with his parents, Carmellia Burgess and Anthony Dickerson. A.J. was born without kidneys. His father is a perfect match and willing donor, but hospital protocol pushed back the surgery after Dickerson violated probation.(Handoff via The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

A Georgia mother whose toddler has been waiting for a kidney transplant his whole life was gifted a car on Tuesday -- hours before a kidney donor was found.

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Carmellia Burgess brought her son home from Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta on Nov. 8, where he’d been since Oct. 29. 

Burgess’s son, AJ, battled a potentially deadly infection, contracted pneumonia, had surgery to implant a new port for his dialysis treatments and received blood transfusions before he was released from the hospital, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution previously reported.

MORE: Toddler heads home from hospital to wait for kidney transplant

But his mother didn’t have a car to get AJ to his hemodialysis appointments three times a week, she wrote on Facebook.

That trouble ended Tuesday, when actor Tyler Perry gifted Burgess with a new car.

The family later learned a deceased donor kidney would be given to AJ this week, attorney Mawuli Davis said.

Woman helps raise more than $300,000 for homeless veteran who gave her his last $20

Published: Wednesday, November 22, 2017 @ 8:32 PM
Updated: Wednesday, November 22, 2017 @ 8:32 PM

Homeless Vet Gives Stranded Woman Last $20, She Thanks Him by Raising Over $70,000

A New Jersey woman has helped raise more than $300,000 for a homeless man who helped her when she was in a time of need. (Editor’s note: The figure was updated Friday, Nov. 24, 2017.)

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Kate McClure was driving on I-95 in Philadelphia recently when her car ran out of gas. According to PhillyVoice.com, McClure got out of her car to walk to a gas station when she was approached by a homeless man, identified only as Johnny. Johnny told McClure to get back in her car and lock the door. He later returned to the vehicle with a can of gas. He had purchased the gas with what little money he had. 

McClure, who was in town to visit a friend, didn’t have anything to give to repay Johnny at the time, so she told him she would return. 

She kept her word.

According to a post online, McClure says she returned to visit Johnny, 34, at his spot by the side of the interstate with clothes, food and money. Each time, Johnny showed gratefulness and generosity.

“One day, I stopped to see him and had a few things in a bag to give him, one of which was a box of cereal bars so he could have something that he could carry around and eat,” McClure wrote. “He was very appreciative as usual and the first thing he said was, ‘Do you want one?’ Another time I dropped off (two) Wawa gift cards and a case of water. The first words that came out of his mouth were, ‘I can’t wait to show the guys’ -- there are (two) others he hangs out with, and they all take care of each other.”

McClure still felt compelled to do more for Johnny, so she created a GoFundMe account, hoping to raise $10,000 to help get Johnny a car, an apartment and some materials and amenities. 

In less than two weeks, McClure raised more than $318,000.

“With the money, I would like to get him first and last month’s rent at an apartment, a reliable vehicle and 4-6 months worth of expenses,” McClure wrote. “He is very interested in finding a job, and I believe that with a place to be able to clean up every night and get a good night’s rest, his life can get back to being normal. (I) truly believe that all Johnny needs is one little break.”

Johnny told PhillyVoice.com that he was once a licensed paramedic and also served in the Marine Corps. He said he moved to Philadelphia last year with plans to start a new job, but when things fell through, he became homeless. 

File photo - Man carrying gas can to car at roadside(Sam Edwards/Getty Images/Caiaimage)

He says now he wants to get a job at the Amazon warehouse in Robbinsville, New Jersey, and hopes to one day become recertified as a paramedic.

“(This) changes my life,” he said.

British police respond to incident at London’s Oxford Circus station

Published: Friday, November 24, 2017 @ 12:31 PM
Updated: Friday, November 24, 2017 @ 1:03 PM

Police set up a cordon outside Oxford Circus underground station as they respond to an incident in central London on November 24, 2017.
British police said they were responding to an
Police set up a cordon outside Oxford Circus underground station as they respond to an incident in central London on November 24, 2017. British police said they were responding to an "incident" at Oxford Circus in central London on Friday and have evacuated the Underground station, in an area thronged with people on a busy shopping day. (DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)(AFP Contributor/AFP/Getty Images)

British police said they were responding to reports of an incident at the Oxford Circus subway station, one of London’s busiest, Friday evening.

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Native Americans mark Thanksgiving with day of mourning

Published: Friday, November 24, 2017 @ 11:43 AM

Juan Gonzalez of Boston rekindles a small fire with“ the smoke symbolizing a ritual for healing and a connection with the
Juan Gonzalez of Boston rekindles a small fire with“ the smoke symbolizing a ritual for healing and a connection with the "creator." He has been attending this day of mourning for 30 years. "We feel the pain of the Wampanoag," said Gonzalez. United American Indians of New England gather for the National Day of Mourning across from Plymouth Rock in Plymouth, MA on Thursday, November 25, 2010. The day signifies the deaths of American Indians at the hands of early settlers and colonists and the independence of American Indians. (Photo by Yoon S. Byun/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)(Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Members of Native American tribes from around New England gathered Thursday in Plymouth, Massachusetts, the town where the Pilgrims settled, for a solemn observance of National Day of Mourning.

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Thursday's gathering served to acknowledge and remember the disease, racism and oppression that European settlers brought.

This year was the 48th year that the United American Indians of New England organized the event on Thanksgiving Day.

Moonanum James, a co-leader of the group, said native people have no reason to celebrate the arrival of the Pilgrims in 1620.

"We say, 'no thanks, no giving,'" he said.

Along with prayers and public speeches, participants condemned environmental degradation and government restrictions on immigration. They also planned a "stomp dance" to symbolically stomp out opioid addiction, which has ravaged many native communities.