Waffle House Closes 365 Locations In U.S. Due To Coronavirus

Waffle House has closed hundreds of locations across the U.S. due to the coronavirus pandemic.

According to a Facebook post, the Norcross, Georgia-based restaurant chain has closed 365 locations, while other 1,427 locations are open.

Waffle House is well known for staying open even during natural disasters, prompting the Federal Emergency Management Agency or FEMA to create an informal metric called the ‘Waffle House Index.’

The term was coined by FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate in May 2011 following the 2011 Joplin tornado, as two Waffle House restaurants in Joplin remained open even after the tornado struck the city.

The FEMA unofficially uses the index to determine how severe a disaster is in a region. The measure is based on the reputation of Waffle House for having good disaster preparedness and staying open during extreme weather, or reopening shortly afterwards.

Privately-held Waffle House said last week that all its restaurants are open, at least for go-to orders.

Several states and cities in the U.S. have ordered dine-in restaurants to close down in an effort to encourage social distancing as the COVID-19 outbreak continues to worsen in the country.

McDonald’s Corp. said in mid-March that it will close dining rooms at its corporate-owned restaurants due to the coronavirus pandemic. Additionally, the fast-food giant will close its PlayPlaces at U.S. locations.

The company said all company-owned restaurants will close seating areas, while drive-thru, walk-in take-out, and delivery will still be available.

Darden Restaurants said last week that in response to COVID-19, it is withdrawing its financial outlook for fiscal 2020 and suspending its quarterly cash dividend. The company also said it is fully drawing on its $750 million credit facility.

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