What Is Meant To Be A Waffle House 'Rockstar' Cook

If you've traveled along an interstate in the southern United States, chances are you've seen one of the big yellow signs advertising a Waffle House in big, black lettering. Founded in 1955 by two men from Georgia, Joe Rogers Sr. and Tom Forkner, Waffle House is a 24-hour, seven days a week diner-style restaurant that today has over 1,900 locations in 25 states with over 40,000 total employees. Menu items range from breakfast classics (which, of course, includes waffles) to lunch and dinner favorites like burgers and steaks (via the Waffle House website).

Waffle Houses have become staples in communities for locals as well as those passing through. It is so reliable that the restaurants will be open that FEMA has a "Waffle House Index" that rates how severe natural disasters are. If a Waffle House is closed, the surrounding area is considered a red index (via FiveThirtyEight).

It's the staff that keeps these restaurants up and running, and their dedication is impressive. From short order cooks to waitstaff, the team members are committed to coming to work, working hard, and providing the "friendliest service in town" (via Waffle House's website). There are even some short order cooks that are so good at their jobs, they're officially known by the company as "Rockstar Grill Operators" (via Medium).

Earning rockstar flair

Rockstar Grill Operators are at the top tier of the cooking hierarchy at Waffle House, superiors to the Grill Operators and the Master Grill Operators. Rockstar Grill Operators earn their rockstar flair pins by being nominated by multiple other line cooks and managers and passing food safety tests. There is also a "volume based" cooking test, which Medium reports Waffle House isn't keen on disclosing the details, but one employee said the test required the cooks to prepare $1,500 worth of food during a six-hour shift. For context, Real Menu Prices reports the most expensive item on the current menu is the T-bone steak, which costs $11.

Medium met with a Rockstar Grill Operator named Charles, who is calm as a cucumber in front of the grill despite the seven sauté pans and flattop full of food in front of him. Charles is so dedicated to his job, when he broke his right hand, instead of calling out of work, he taught himself how to cook with his left hand. He wears his rockstar flair pin proudly on his blue baseball cap.

"People always ask me how I stay calm," he told Medium. "There is no pressure."

Spoken like a true rockstar.