Here's How Waffle House Got Its Name

Choosing a name for a restaurant can take a lot of time and contemplation, particularly when it comes to finding the perfect words to capture the essence of the environment and food. Waffle House is one of those aptly-named dining spots that lives up to its iconic moniker, menu, and service. Although its designation implies it's dedicated to waffles, the Waffle House actually offers an expansive menu with a variety of breakfast, lunch, and dinner options. In fact, if you live in one of the 25 states where a Waffle House is located, it's likely you've eaten its signature dish. 

This casual restaurant chain began in 1955 when neighbors Joe Rogers Sr. and Tom Forkner opened their first restaurant in Georgia. According to Waffle House's official website, there are currently over 1,900 locations, with most of them based in the South. And the waffle joint continues to expand and open new restaurants for round-the-clock service. No matter if you prefer chocolate chip waffles for breakfast or have a hankering for a Texas Cheesesteak Melt in the wee hours of the night, the Waffle House is open 24/7 to whip up whatever you're craving. Yes, that includes options other than waffles and patty melts, such as omelets, steak and eggs, pancakes, T-bone steaks, and salads. While some may be familiar with the menu and its scandals, what may surprise Waffle House patrons is how the owners decided upon the name for the restaurant.

Here's how the owners came up with the name

It's easy to assume that restaurants bearing the name of a food in their title only serve up that select item. Take, for example, Taco Bell, Burger King, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and, yes, Waffle House. It's true that when owners Rogers and Forkner decided to go into the restaurant business together, putting waffles on the menu was a no-brainer, according to NBC News. But they also had their work cut out for them when informing customers that the menu goes beyond waffles (and syrup). It was Forkner who had the idea to name it Waffle House because waffles made more money than anything else on their 16-item menu, per NBC News. Apparently, the pair established the menu first, which, in turn, inspired the name of their restaurant. 

"It was the highest profit item you could do, so I said, 'Call it Waffle House and encourage people to eat waffles,'" Forkner told NBC News. The name also served as an invitation to customers, letting them know it was a place where they could sit down and eat, rather than ordering food to take home. After all, cold and soggy waffles are no fun. And Rogers clearly agrees that waffles are best eaten hot and served right away, telling NBC News, "You can't carry out waffles. They get pretty flimsy. So we thought, 'Waffle House'll work."' 

Yes, we happen to think the name has a nice ring to it, too.