Casa de Waffle

If you don’t live or travel in the southeastern United States, you may not know about Waffle House.  Picture an old-fashioned diner.   There’s a lunch counter which fronts the cooking area.  Then there are a handful of booths and tables.  There’s a juke box, bright fluorescent lights, lots of windows, and about as casual an atmosphere as you could ever ask for.  Like any good diner, the wait staff (their badges say "salesperson"), call out their orders to the cook in shorthand.  It sounds completely random, but the orders always seem to come up right, so they must know what they’re doing.

Obviously the signature item is the waffle.  Actually it’s waffles (plural) because they come in various flavors.  The House is primarily a breakfast place, though they’re open 24 hours.  They also have sandwiches, and Burt’s chili, and even steaks for the adventurous.

Getting back to the juke box, or "music machines" as they call them, Waffle_house_cd
they have the usual country and rock music, but they also feature  original  Waffle House tunes including, "844,739 Ways to Eat a Hamburger", "Waffle Do Wop", and "There are Raisins in My Toast".  (You can order the CD for $10.95)  A meal at Waffle House is never boring.

Every once in a while, my wife and I will eat Sunday breakfast at the Waffle House in our neighborhood.  If there’s a lesson to be learned from the folks at the House, it’s that they’re not just in the food business, they’re in the hospitality business.  When you walk in the door, everyone working there stops what they’re doing and says "hi" or "good morning" or "welcome to Waffle House".  You just have to smile.  No matter what mood you’re in when you come in the door, you’re going to be in a better one when you leave, and not just because of the great tasting, inexpensive food.  Just to be sure, they also stop what they’re doing to yell "goodbye" or "have a nice day" or "hurry back".

It’s not rocket science.  After all, they sell waffles.  But making people happy is good for business.  Since House #1 opened in 1955, the chain has grown to over 1,500 locations. According to  the "Fun Facts" section of their web site, Waffle House customers consume more than  185,000,000 eggs per year, or 2% of all the  eggs consumed in restaurants in the United States.

If you want to build an exceptional shopping experience, take a tip from  Waffle House and  make sure  your customers feel welcome  in your store as soon as they walk in the door.

By the way, in case you’re wondering, Casa de Waffle, Spanish for Waffle House, is the brand name of their salsa.

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