Charlotte, N.C. – While many states and cities across America are experiencing a surge in coronavirus cases and shutting down for the second round of lockdowns, forcing many businesses to once again shut their doors the CEO of Waffle House Walt Ehmer is not too keen on having to shut his business.
Currently, all but two of the Southern breakfast food chain’s 1,920 locations across the country are still open and allowing for inside dining, Business Insider reported.
“A lockdown is going to put a lot of people out of work,” Ehmer explained. “It’s really not about the business – it’s about the people. These people have jobs, they have livelihoods, they need to take care of their families.”
Waffle House CEO on the incredible harm lockdowns inflict on working-class people.
Those pushing for harsh restrictions are almost all credentialed-class elites who don’t suffer personal professional consequences from lockdowns. https://t.co/XCntxMzcet
— Steve Cortes (@CortesSteve) November 21, 2020
Earlier in the pandemic, 700 Waffle House locations were forced to temporarily shut down, with about 28,000 hourly workers finding themselves out of a job. Only 20 still remain closed to this day.
“The only reason we think that we would shut a dining room down at this point is if the local government made us do so,” Ehmer explained.
While schools and businesses across the nation have started using Zoom rather than hold face-to-face meetings, Ehmer and other senior management from Waffle House have for the most part avoided Zoom, Business Insider reported.
Instead of using Zoom, Ehmer and other senior management usually try to visit “four or five or six or seven” locations a day in order to check in with employees, monitor safety, and help out with work.
“The true way to solve a crisis is to go stand in the middle of it, and figure out how to take care of people and figure out how to help put things back together.”
“That does not change regardless of what the crisis is,” Ehmer added.
Waffle House is no stranger to getting its hands dirty in the midst of a crisis. According to an article from CNN, The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) worked with Waffle House to create a system to determine the severity of natural disasters.
The system, “Waffle House Index” is used to determine the level of severity of a natural disaster. As Waffle Houses are usually open for 24 hours, officials came to the conclusion that if the breakfast chain closed or limited its options for some reason, then the local community must’ve been hit pretty hard.
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