Why Is Waffle House Such A News Magnet?

When something big goes down in the news, and it happens at a diner, it’s not unlikely that Waffle House is somehow involved. From acting as a sign of the effects of natural disaster to a string of robberies, Waffle House gets in on the headline action quite often.

While reporting on a series of 18 robberies at Waffle House locations in Georgia and Alabama, the New York Times also takes a look at the reputation the diner franchise is earning for itself in the media.

With 1,600 chains, Waffle House is seemingly everywhere, especially in the South. It is so strongly rooted down there, that federal emergency officials have been known to use something called the Waffle House Index when measuring the severity of natural disasters. If one is closed, that means the recover process will take longer.

The NYT asks whether it’s Waffle House that is attracting odd incidents like serial robberies or whether it just gets more attention because those things are happening at Waffle House. Kinda like one of those chicken or the egg situations.

A few other Waffle House incidents:
• Four elderly men were arrested in in Georgia, charged with plotting terrorist attacks. They met and allegedly plotted at a Waffle House.
• A Florida state rep proposed that death row inmates be killed by electrocution or firing squad, and was quoted at a Waffle House.
• In Georgia, a fugitive of 17 years was caught at a Waffle House.
• A cross-dressing bank robber in Marietta, Ga. was spotted on surveillance video at a Waffle House after running from the cops.

The NYT offers one explanation, citing a police officer who said, “They are cash-driven.They are near Interstate exits. And they are open 24 hours, when people aren’t necessarily in a sober state of mind.”

At Waffle Houses, a Side of Drama With Breakfast [New York Times]