If Waffle House Is Closed, It’s Time To Panic

December 8, 2016

On a warm, cloudy morning in the first week of October, in an anonymous office park just outside Atlanta, operations analyst Matt Stark opened a computer program, ran through some data and looked thoughtfully at the results.

Out in the Atlantic Ocean, Hurricane Matthew was hurling winds of 115 miles an hour toward the coast of Florida. Hundreds of miles inland, in the headquarters of Waffle House Inc., Stark’s software predicted that 477 of the chain’s almost 1,900 restaurants might be affected by the onrushing storm.

This meant two things. First, as the storm made landfall, some locations of