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When Joe Rogers, Sr. bought a house from Tom Forkner in Avondale Estates, GA., in 1949, neither one knew where that relationship would take them. It's the mid 1950's. Joe Rogers and Tom Forkner were neighbors–Joe working for a national restaurant chain, the Toddle House, and Tom in the local real estate business. Since employee ownership was not available with the Toddle House, the idea of starting a business they could own and share some ownership with other seemed like a good idea. Joe and Tom wanted to create a restaurant focused on people–both the associates and customers–while serving quality food at a great value. On Labor Day 1955, their dream became a reality–and an icon was born–when the first Waffle House restaurant opened its doors for business in Avondale Estates, an Atlanta suburb. After Unit 1 opened there were no plans for another Unit, but the first restaurant established the Waffle House tradition of providing the friendliest service in town. Customer loyalty developed and the business grew steadily. A couple of years (1957) Unit 2 was acquired and by 1961, there were four small restaurants. In 1961, Joe left Toddle House and went to work full-time at Waffle House®. Tom went full time soon after. The 1960's saw the emergence of a restaurant chain focused on customer service with a short order concept and, true to its founding beliefs, shared the ownership generously with management. The company began to expand and new units were built in Georgia and neighboring states. The "Yellow Sign" soon became a familiar landmark along city streets and interstate highways across the Southeast. Under the guiding philosophy of "better before bigger," Waffle House restaurants continued to grow in both new and existing markets. Since day one, each Waffle House® restaurant has provided guests with a unique and comfortable dining experience. At every restaurant, the bright "Yellow Sign" greets customers like an old friend, the jukebox plays a variety of the now famous Waffle House songs and associates give customers a heartfelt greeting as they walk through the door. In addition, each restaurant is open 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year, inspiring urban myths such as "Waffle House doors have no locks." Most established businesses of today started as just an idea among a few people with no expectation of great size and success. Joe and Tom did not envision what Waffle House has become, but they stuck by their concept and their belief in shared ownership. After 51 years in the restaurant business, the southern icon has become a Unique American Phenomenon™ by serving GOOD FOOD FAST®. As the Waffle House system celebrates 51 years of service, we look forward to making the next generation of customers and associates part of the family. At Waffle House® restaurants, success is measured by one thing–PEOPLE. Waffle House History Timeline 1955 Joe Rogers, Sr. and Tom Forkner opened the first Waffle House restaurant in Avondale, GA. 1957 The Waffle House System acquired Unit 2. 1960's The 1960's saw the emergence of a restaurant chain focused on customer service with a short order concept and, true to its founding beliefs, shared the ownership generously with management. In 1961, Joe left Toddle House and went to work full time at Waffle House. Tom went full time soon after. Waffle House, Inc., open 44 restaurants in the 1960's bringing the total to 48. 1970's The system grew to 401 restaurants by the end of the 1970's. 1975 Waffle House Inc. celebrated 20 years in the restaurant industry. 1980's Bert's Chili™, Lib's Patty Melt™ and hashbrowns "Scattered, Smothered and Covered®" debuted on the menu. The Waffle House System expanded to 672 restaurants by the end of the decade. 1990's Walt's Soup™ warmed up the menu. The Waffle House System opened its 1,000th restaurant where it all started–Avondale Estates–in 1955. The 90's saw the biggest growth of the system, with 1,228 restaurants by the end of the decade. 2000's Alice added her name to our already famous iced tea, making Alice's Iced Tea™ even sweeter. 2004 Lucy Shelton, pictured on the right, retired after 47 years of excellent service to her customers. Miss Lucy is the longest serving Associate. Miss Lucy started her Waffle House career at Unit 2 in 1957. 2005 Waffle House Inc. celebrated 50 years of being America's Place to Work, America's Place to Eat. In 2005, Waffle House Inc., operated more than 1,460 restaurants in 25 states. Waffle House Inc. launched the first World Waffle- Eating Championships. 2006 Waffle House System grew to 1,500 restaurants and took a step into the 21 Century by accepting credit cards in company-owned restaurants. Since 1955, Waffle House had been a primarily cash-based system. <img src="http://www.wafflehouse.com/images/history/8.jpg"> <img src="http://www.wafflehouse.com/images/history/10.jpg">

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About Waffle House

When Joe Rogers, Sr. bought a house from Tom Forkner in Avondale Estates, GA., in 1949, neither one knew where that relationship would take them.

It's the mid 1950's. Joe Rogers and Tom Forkner were neighborsā€“Joe working for a national restaurant chain, the Toddle House, and Tom in the local real estate business. Since employee ownership was not available with the Toddle House, the idea of starting a business they could own and share some ownership with other seemed like a good idea. Joe and Tom wanted to create a restaurant focused on peopleā€“both the associates and customersā€“while serving quality food at a great value.

On Labor Day 1955, their dream became a realityā€“and an icon was bornā€“when the first Waffle House restaurant opened its doors for business in Avondale Estates, an Atlanta suburb. After Unit 1 opened there were no plans for another Unit, but the first restaurant established the Waffle House tradition of providing the friendliest service in town. Customer loyalty developed and the business grew steadily. A couple of years (1957) Unit 2 was acquired and by 1961, there were four small restaurants.

In 1961, Joe left Toddle House and went to work full-time at Waffle HouseĀ®. Tom went full time soon after. The 1960's saw the emergence of a restaurant chain focused on customer service with a short order concept and, true to its founding beliefs, shared the ownership generously with management.

The company began to expand and new units were built in Georgia and neighboring states. The "Yellow Sign" soon became a familiar landmark along city streets and interstate highways across the Southeast. Under the guiding philosophy of "better before bigger," Waffle House restaurants continued to grow in both new and existing markets.

Since day one, each Waffle HouseĀ® restaurant has provided guests with a unique and comfortable dining experience. At every restaurant, the bright "Yellow Sign" greets customers like an old friend, the jukebox plays a variety of the now famous Waffle House songs and associates give customers a heartfelt greeting as they walk through the door. In addition, each restaurant is open 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year, inspiring urban myths such as "Waffle House doors have no locks."

Most established businesses of today started as just an idea among a few people with no expectation of great size and success. Joe and Tom did not envision what Waffle House has become, but they stuck by their concept and their belief in shared ownership. After 51 years in the restaurant business, the southern icon has become a Unique American Phenomenonā„¢ by serving GOOD FOOD FASTĀ®.

As the Waffle House system celebrates 51 years of service, we look forward to making the next generation of customers and associates part of the family. At Waffle HouseĀ® restaurants, success is measured by one thingā€“PEOPLE.
Waffle House History Timeline

1955
Joe Rogers, Sr. and Tom Forkner opened the first Waffle House restaurant in Avondale, GA.

1957
The Waffle House System acquired Unit 2.

1960's
The 1960's saw the emergence of a restaurant chain focused on customer service with a short order concept and, true to its founding beliefs, shared the ownership generously with management.

In 1961, Joe left Toddle House and went to work full time at Waffle House. Tom went full time soon after. Waffle House, Inc., open 44 restaurants in the 1960's bringing the total to 48.

1970's
The system grew to 401 restaurants by the end of the 1970's.

1975
Waffle House Inc. celebrated 20 years in the restaurant industry.

1980's
Bert's Chiliā„¢, Lib's Patty Meltā„¢ and hashbrowns "Scattered, Smothered and CoveredĀ®" debuted on the menu. The Waffle House System expanded to 672 restaurants by the end of the decade.

1990's
Walt's Soupā„¢ warmed up the menu. The Waffle House System opened its 1,000th restaurant where it all startedā€“Avondale Estatesā€“in 1955. The 90's saw the biggest growth of the system, with 1,228 restaurants by the end of the decade.

2000's
Alice added her name to our already famous iced tea, making Alice's Iced Teaā„¢ even sweeter.

2004
Lucy Shelton, pictured on the right, retired after 47 years of excellent service to her customers. Miss Lucy is the longest serving Associate. Miss Lucy started her Waffle House career at Unit 2 in 1957.

2005
Waffle House Inc. celebrated 50 years of being America's Place to Work, America's Place to Eat. In 2005, Waffle House Inc., operated more than 1,460 restaurants in 25 states. Waffle House Inc. launched the first World Waffle- Eating Championships.

2006
Waffle House System grew to 1,500 restaurants and took a step into the 21 Century by accepting credit cards in company-owned restaurants. Since 1955, Waffle House had been a primarily cash-based system.

<img src="http://www.wafflehouse.com/images/history/8.jpg">

<img src="http://www.wafflehouse.com/images/history/10.jpg">