How to measure all things BCP is always a hot topic. Here’s a metric best served piping hot! And press reports this week say it was used to assess the severity of the Oklahoma tornado impact.
“The Waffle House Index is an informal metric used by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to determine the impact of a storm and the likely scale of assistance required for disaster recovery,” according toWikipedia. “The measure is based on the reputation of the Waffle House restaurant chain for staying open during extreme weather and for reopening quickly, albeit sometimes with a limited menu, after very severe weather events such as tornados or hurricanes. The term was coined by FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate in May 2011, following the Joplin tornado; the two Waffle House restaurants in Joplin remained open after the EF5 multiple-vortex tornado struck the city on May 22. According to Fugate, ‘If you get there and the Waffle House is closed? That’s really bad.””
The Index has three levels, based on the extent of operations and service at the restaurant following a storm:
Green: the restaurant is serving a full menu, indicating the restaurant has power and damage is limited.
Yellow: the restaurant is serving a limited menu, indicating there may be no power or only power from a generator or food supplies may be low.
Red: the restaurant is closed, indicating severe damage.
According to The Guardian, “There is only one Waffle House in Moore, the suburb worst hit by the tornadoes. The restaurant, located at 316 SW 19th Street and which normally offers a southern-tinged menu that includes grits, hash browns, and sausage and egg biscuits as well as hamburgers, was closed on Tuesday.”
But, The Guardian reports that “the Moore tornado was classed as a yellow on the Waffle House index because managers were hoping to get it up and running soon. ‘It is a yellow because we are hoping to get a generator,’ said Kelly Thrasher, a spokeswoman for the Atlanta-based restaurant chain. ‘Once we have the generator, we will be able to serve a limited menu, maybe a full one.’ She said the branch had survived the storm intact. ‘There is no damage to the building. Power is out and there is no gas or water but we do not have any physical damage. We are trying to get it open so we can serve first responders and the community.”