This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, April 1, 2020:
Waffle House restaurants almost never close. As one customer wrote: “I swear I’ve eaten at a Waffle House where a tree came in the front window and good chunks of the roof came off in bad weather, and they just kept right on serving like it was a Tuesday.”
The chain just announced that it has closed nearly 400 of its more than 2,100 restaurants.
FEMA considers the Waffle House as an indicator of the health of the overall economy. It uses what it calls its Waffle House indicator: Green, when the restaurants are open and serving a complete menu; Yellow, when they are operating on reserve or emergency power and offering a limited menu; and Red, when they are closed.
The closure of its restaurants reflects the news from the St. Louis Fed. Its President Jim Bullard just announced: “The unemployment rate … is going to be somewhere between 10 percent and … 42 percent.” The lower number is the most optimistic projection of present trends while the higher number is the most pessimistic. They reflect a minimum of 27 million jobs lost during the shutdown and 67 million at the worst.
Neal Boss, the director of public relations for Waffle House, tried to put those numbers into human terms: “To see something of this magnitude and [to] try to explain it in terms of human cost … we see how it physically affects people through the infection … there’s the human cost of the very individuals who have been disproportionately affected.”