What’s Your ‘Waffle House Index?’
Do you have a Waffle House in your area? If not, do you know what your community’s crisis indicator is that danger may be looming? What about your business?
In the midst of a natural (or national) disaster, the Waffle House restaurant chain has become a crisis gauge for the Federal Emergency Management Agency. It assesses the impact of natural disasters by measuring their interruption of multiple large national chains and informally references a “Waffle House Index.”
If a Waffle House shuts down or closes early, it means there’s serious trouble developing in that region. Why? The resilient Southern restaurants are a barometer for how well an area will recover from a hurricane, tornado or other hazard.
The ‘Waffle House’ emergency indicator for your business might be an increase in negative customer comments or a sudden decrease in store foot traffic or the threat of an expose by your competition. Each of these can mean a business storm may be brewing – you better be prepared!
Creating a Crisis Team and Plan
Do you have a plan to help protect your business from calamity?
• If it’s a natural disaster: A literal exit plan – to leave the building or close early – is something that all employees should be aware of. Having a ‘go to’ person in place is also essential.
• If it’s a PR crisis: Who will the media talk to if your company is in the hot seat and does that person have talking points ready? Are you prepared to continue operations and assure clients for the short and long-term?
When Mother Nature is not at her best, hurricanes and tornadoes happen. When a business is not at its best, a different type of crisis can happen: You could lose everything. Make sure you know what your ‘waffle house’ indicator is and be prepared.