Disaster preparedness has been top of mind for quite sometime now, especially in light of recent tornadoes, floods and earthquakes. FEMA Director Craig Fugate has joked that he watches a "Waffle House Index" of disaster magnitude. The Wall Street Journal says Waffle House has a long standing reputation for staying open during natural disasters. The Waffle House protocal is basically to stay open through the worst part of any disaster if possible. Valerie Bauerline of the Wall Street Journal says that WH has a hurricane playbook that explains how to reopen a restaurant and what to serve when utilities are at a minimum, or on a generator but no ice. One important element is to limit the menu so the company's supply chain can focus on keeping certain items stocked and chilled or frozen.

FEMA Director Fugate says you can measure a disaster by how much of the menu Waffle House is serving. According to the Waffle House Index, if the store is open and serving  a full menu, the index is green. If open with a limited menu, the index is yellow. The only time the index is red is when the store is closed and Fugate says"if you get there and the Waffle House is closed, that's really bad". Wal-Mart, Lowe's and Home Depot have similar plans.

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